What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Arizona?
A hit-and-run is a crime that can derail the car accident insurance claims process. Although Arizona has a fault-based insurance law, you will not be able to file a third-party claim if you do not know the identity of the at-fault driver. This does not, however, mean you will have zero options in terms of financial recovery. Taking the right steps after a hit-and-run accident in Arizona could increase your odds of obtaining compensation.
Call the Police
Never avoid calling 911 as the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Arizona. Any crash involving a broken law, such as a hit-and-run or drunk driving accident, deserves attention from law enforcement. Call 911 as close to the scene of the hit-and-run as is safely possible. Do not move if you feel like you have a serious spinal cord injury. Request an ambulance and wait in place for help to arrive. The police will document your accident and injuries, talk to eyewitnesses, and begin an investigation into the identity of the at-fault driver. The police will also write up a report you can use for your insurance claim.
Document Your Hit-and-Run Accident
The best-case scenario is to start gathering information and evidence immediately, while you are still at the scene of your hit-and-run accident in Arizona. Prompt data collection could lead to a stronger claim to damages later. Waiting too long could lead to evidence that is faulty or contaminated. Any information you collect from the scene could help the police catch the culprit.
- Description of the vehicle that struck you
- Full or partial license plate numbers
- Photographs of the hit-and-run crash scene
- Pictures of any relevant details, such as broken-off pieces of the other driver’s vehicle
- Names and contact information of eyewitnesses
- Surveillance video footage of the accident
If you are in a fit state to collect evidence yourself, do so. Otherwise, ask a friend to gather information for you or return to the scene of the hit-and-run accident as soon as possible. The information you collect may not only help the police, but it could also build an insurance claim.
Go to the Doctor in Arizona
Always seek professional medical treatment for hit-and-run accident injuries. Go to the nearest emergency room in Arizona right away and explain that you were in a car accident. You could have injuries such as broken bones, a concussion, a back injury, soft-tissue damage or lacerations. Keep copies of your scans, x-rays and medical records. Waiting too long to see a doctor could hurt your insurance injury claim.
File an Insurance Claim for Your Hit-and-Run Accident
This stage is where your claim will look different from a typical car accident claim in Arizona. If the police do not know who committed the hit-and-run crime, you will seek benefits from your own auto insurance provider instead of the provider of the at-fault driver. Your insurance carrier should cover your damages if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance on your policy. Collision or medical payment insurance may also reimburse you for damages after a hit-and-run accident. If the police catch the at-fault driver, you can file a claim with his or her insurance provider instead.
Hire an Accident Attorney in Arizona
If you learn from your insurance carrier that you do not have adequate first-party coverage, contact a Phoenix car accident attorney to discuss the possibility of other options. A lawyer can investigate your hit-and-run accident for signs of someone else’s fault besides the driver that illegally fled the scene. You may have grounds for a claim against an auto manufacturer, for example, if a defective seat belt caused your injuries. A personal injury attorney can explore all your outlets for recovery as well as walk you through what steps to take after a harmful hit-and-run accident in Arizona.