Getting caught in a hit and run can be a stressful and terrifying experience. But if you have the kind of car insurance Arizona residents depend on, then you can rest assured you won’t be stuck with unmanageable bills.
In Arizona, hit-and-run accidents are a serious deal. When a person hits your car and leaves without giving you their information, they can face some major consequences, ranging from fines to imprisonment.
Getting caught in this situation can feel daunting and almost unreal, but the quicker you act, the better the outcome will be. Also, finding excellent car insurance online before an accident can help you be even more prepared. Here’s what to do if you find yourself caught in a hit and run.
Hit and Run Accidents: You’re Not Alone
In 2017, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported over 15,000 hit-and-run accidents. Thankfully, most of these incidents, around 12,000 of them, were just related to physical property. However, the remaining involved bodily damage, for which a good Arizona auto insurance company can provide financial coverage.
It is upsetting and troublesome when somebody flees the scene of an accident, especially when they are at fault. Sometimes they don’t stay to avoid trouble with law enforcement, or they are simply scared of the consequences.
Other times, they can be driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a license or insurance, have stolen a car, or even have a warrant out for their arrest. It’s important not to follow the driver because they may be in a desperate situation or under the influence. This can lead to uncertain outcomes that may affect your safety.
As Arizona’s population continues to grow, your chances of encountering such behavior on the road increases. Safeguard your finances by getting a good Arizona auto insurance plan that will protect you even if the person responsible for the damage vanishes.
What to Do If You’ve Just Been Hit
If you have been hit by someone who has already fled, you should first move your car to a safe place and contact the police. Resist the urge to pursue the person who hit you. Then, while you wait for the police to help, jot down everything you remember about the incident. You will have the most information the less time you wait after the event.
Here are some useful pieces of information to record:
- The vehicle’s characteristics, such as make, model, state, color, and license plate number (or even part of it). If you had a chance to take a photo, this is also good
- A physical description of the driver
- Any notable features about the car, such as sticker designs or add-ons
- The time and location of the incident
- Where the car drove off
- Witness statements and their contact info
- Take photos of the damage and site of the incident
By collecting information like this, you can help the police find the person who hit you. You never know if there could also be a CCTV nearby where police can also get footage of the license plate.
Under no circumstances should you go after the person that hit your car. Pursuing a fleeing vehicle could get you into a dangerous situation or an even bigger accident.
You should next contact your insurance company and file a claim. Do this when you have all the information gathered about the incident and know what kind of damage has happened to your vehicle or yourself. The more specifics you can give about the event, the better. It helps to have everything written down and organized to have the same story every time you need to tell it.
Also, if the damage is significant enough, you should call an attorney. A personal injury attorney can inform you about your legal options and how to take action if the police find the person at fault. This will prepare you for potential litigations in which you can get the best outcome in court.
Find an Insurance Plan That Protects You
Each state has its specific insurance laws. Arizona is a no-fault insurance state. This means that the person who hits your car is responsible for paying for your damages. Naturally, when a driver runs away, this makes filing a claim more difficult. However, if you have extra coverage on your auto insurance plan, your insurance agency won’t leave you alone with the medical and repair costs.
Types of insurance add-ons that can help are:
- Uninsured motorist coverage: This covers bodily injury and property damage to you or your passengers in the car during an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver you can’t find.
- Personal injury protection coverage: This product covers up to a certain amount of coverage — no matter who is at fault. What is covered specifically depends on the policy’s fine print, so read closely.
- Med Pay coverage: This covers medical expenses that you and your passengers incur no matter who is at fault during an accident.
At Oasis, we have the types of car insurance Phoenix, AZ, drivers can customize to ensure you won’t be left to handle your car or medical bills in case of a hit and run. If you have any questions, give one of our agents a call, and we can find the best plan for your budget and needs.
When you’re in the most vulnerable state right after an accident, it helps to know you have a plan set up, so even if the other party is negligent — or even gone from the scene — there is coverage that can get you the repairs, a rental vehicle, and even reimbursement for medical bills. This support will help you recover with more peace of mind instead of worrying about how you’re going to afford everything.
What Happens to the Person If They Get Caught?
After giving the police all the information you can about the driver, they may find the guilty person. If this happens, the guilty party will get a charge depending on the severity of the offense. It is important to hold the person accountable so they hopefully won’t repeat the same mistake.
The person can get a misdemeanor charge if it was the first offense and there was only minor damage, but it can become a felony if there is bodily injury, a DUI, and other offenses involved. When your damage and injuries are significant, it is a good idea to have a lawyer organize your evidence to make a solid case at court.
Find a Car Insurance Plan Today
If you’re looking for cheap car insurance in Mesa, let Oasis Insurance help you. Simply fill out our online quote tool, give us a call at (800)-330-5190, or visit one of our in-person locations. Find the office nearest to you through our office locator.
We look forward to assisting you with all your car insurance needs.