What Is the Hit and Run Investigation Process?

Published on Feb 13, 2024 at 7:40 pm in Car Accidents.

Being involved in a vehicle collision is already stressful, but when the driver responsible for your accident leaves the scene before information is exchanged, it makes everything more complicated.

Not only are you faced with damages to your vehicle and possibly injuries to yourself or your passengers, but there is no way to contact the other driver’s insurance to file a claim and hold them accountable for their actions.

Don’t worry; there are steps you can take to take care of yourself and your family in the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident. Our office has some insight into what you can do, what the investigation process looks like for a hit-and-run wreck, and how we can help.

Best Steps After a Hit-and-Run Accident

As with any other type of vehicle accident, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you should follow these steps to the best of your ability:

  • Stop your vehicle and move it out of traffic if possible
  • Stay at the scene until the police arrive
  • Take pictures and gather witness statements
  • Write down everything in as much detail as possible from your point of view
  • Seek medical attention
  • Contact a Peterson Law Office attorney

Make sure that any law enforcement officers on the scene are given as many details as possible about the other driver and anything you were able to remember or take pictures of regarding them or their vehicle. This will help the police to look for the responsible driver and bring them to justice.

Will My Insurance Cover Damages?

You may be wondering if your insurance will cover your damages if there is no at-fault party at the scene of the accident to get contact or insurance information from. The good news is that Kentucky is a “choice” no-fault state. This means that each driver must be offered a minimum of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, but it is up to each driver to purchase it or opt out.

This also means that you are still allowed to make an insurance claim for any accident or incident you’re involved in, even if the other party isn’t available, as PIP helps pay for your own injuries regardless of who is at fault.

Additionally, your own uninsured motorist coverage through your vehicle insurance should help pay for your injuries or damages, and you may be able to pay your deductible and have your vehicle fixed using your policy’s collision coverage.

Your insurance rates may rise after your accident, even if you were not at fault, but this varies by insurance provider. It’s a good idea to call your insurance and see what your coverage is and how much your policy rate may change after an accident.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

In accordance with Kentucky driving laws, any driver involved in a collision that results in more than $500 in damages must file a Civilian Collision Report with the Kentucky State Police within ten days of the accident. However, if the police arrived at the scene of your accident, they likely prepared an official accident report, and your civilian report isn’t necessary.

If you sustained injuries in your accident, you have one year to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, and if there were no injuries, but the accident resulted in property damage, you have two years from the date of the accident to pursue legal action against the driver responsible.

This can be tricky in the case of a hit-and-run situation, but, as mentioned before, your insurance may still cover the cost of repairs for your damages. And, if the responsible driver is eventually caught by law enforcement, you may still have time to file a lawsuit against them, which your lawyer can assist you with.

What Happens if the Driver Responsible Is Caught?

If the driver who caused your accident is eventually found by police, that person could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of damages and any injuries that occurred. Leaving the scene of a vehicle accident in the Blue Grass State is considered a misdemeanor, regardless of any other damages or incident details.

  • If the damages total less than $500 in just property damage and there were no injuries, the responsible party who caused the wreck may be charged with a class A misdemeanor and a $500 fine.
  • If the damages total more than $500 and there were injuries or even death as a result of the responsible party’s actions, that person may be charged with a class D felony and a fine of $10,000.

In any case, leaving the scene of an accident in Kentucky may result in a driver’s license suspension or revocation, and their failure to report the accident within the proper time frame may result in a fine.

When these drivers are caught, that also gives you and any other victims the opportunity to pursue a lawsuit against them for related damages and injuries their actions caused.

What if the Guilty Party Is Never Found?

As we’ve touched on previously, hit-and-run crashes can be quite complex and difficult to fully investigate. It’s possible that the police may never find the person responsible. These types of accidents are sudden and may leave you in shock, making it more difficult for you to pay close attention to any driver or vehicle details of the person who hit you.

In these situations, dealing with your insurance company may present a challenge when you don’t have any information about the other driver. However, our experienced team at Peterson Law Office can help you through this process.

A qualified Lexington car accident attorney is ready to assist you with your hit-and-run case and ensure you get some amount of relief, no matter what.

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