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Steps to take if involved in a Hit and Run Accident

In New Jersey, where the population is concentrated so densely in a number of cities and surrounding communities it is relatively common to be involved in a “hit and run” accident. Those individuals usually flee the scene due to any number of different reasons such as being uninsured or unlicensed or perhaps due to a warrant having been issued for their arrest previously. Whatever the reason there are a few steps it is most important to take if ever you are so unfortunate to be involved in such an accident.

Hit And Run Accident In Nj
Hit and Run Accident in NJ

Firstly, get whatever descriptive information you can get from the fleeing vehicle- color of car, make, model, description of driver etc. Secondly, do not attempt to run down or chase any hit and run vehicle as that will exacerbate the problems and perhaps cause more harm than good. Thirdly, contact the police and make a report of the incident. Make sure to give police the full story of the accident and include any of the descriptive information that you were able to obtain initially. Allow the police to attempt to obtain accident information from such a fleeing vehicle. It is most important to have a police report that corroborates the fact that there was another vehicle responsible for the cause of the accident.

Why is this important? Because in New Jersey we have mandatory Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and Underinsurance (UIM) for policies that contain liability insurance. That is we are covered by our own policies even if we cannot find the phantom vehicle that caused the accident (UM coverage) or if the identified vehicle that has a limited amount of coverage (UIM coverage). Additionally, in New Jersey there is no requirement that there even be an impact between the offending vehicle and the injured prospective party (in New York and some other States there is the requirement of an “impact”). In other words we are already paying for insurance coverage for injury or damage caused by either an unknown or underinsured party. Most importantly however it is strongly recommended that you seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney if you are involved in an accident with a hit and run driver as you have more rights than you may have originally known.

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