According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1500 people are killed each year by hit and run drivers, and the problem is getting worse every year. They estimate that 11 percent of all crashes reported to the police involve a driver who fled the scene. In 60 percent of these cases, the victim was a pedestrian. The problem for victims, whether a pedestrian or the occupant of a car, is that they will not be able to be compensated for their injuries by the guilty party if the guilty party cannot be identified.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a hit and run driver, you may be able to easily prove his negligence. Unfortunately, that does you little good if you cannot find out the identity of the driver to sue. You may worry that you will never be able to find this person, but it may not be as difficult as you think.
4 Steps You Can Take to Identify the Driver Who Caused Your Wreck
In Kansas and Missouri, all drivers are supposed to stop and render assistance after an accident, and it is a crime not to do so. Unfortunately, all too many drivers refuse to take responsibility for their actions and leave the scene of an accident. Because leaving the scene is a crime, you will not be alone in your attempts to locate the driver who fled the scene of your crash. Ways to locate this person include:
- Police. While you should not rely solely on the police in attempting to find the driver of the other vehicle, the police could investigate this as a crime—especially if any other motorists or you suffered serious injuries or died.
- Eyewitnesses. An eyewitness to the accident may be able to provide valuable information, such as the driver’s license plate number, the make, model, and color of the vehicle, and a description of the driver.
- People in area. If you check with businesses and homes near where the accident occurred, you may find someone who witnessed the accident and saw something helpful or knows who the person is from the information you can provide. Be sure to ask business owners to check their video cameras in case one in a parking lot taped the hit and run driver or his vehicle.
- Department of Motor Vehicles. If you can obtain the vehicle’s license plate number, you may be able to locate the owner through a search of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ records.
Most people flee the scene of an accident for one of three reasons: either they are not properly licensed, they are not properly insured, or they were drunk at the time of the crash. If you carry proper insurance, you most likely have uninsured motorist coverage which will provide coverage in a hit-and-run situation. However, you ideally want to make the guilty party pay your damages to avoid making a claim on your own insurance. While you attempt to locate the at-fault driver, it is important that you take care of yourself as well. Seek medical care immediately and inform your insurance company of the accident.
We Can Help in Your Search for JusticeIf you or a family member was injured in a hit and run accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney to help you locate the driver and hold him responsible for compensating you. Call us at (888) 348-2616 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.