In the aftermath of a car accident, most people feel some level of adrenaline that can cause racing thoughts, shaking hands and a general sense of confusion. If the other driver speeds away before you have a chance to gather your thoughts, you may wonder what you should do next.
Many of the steps you should take are the same as if the other driver stopped. Some are unique.
1. Gather information
Generally, the drivers get out of their vehicles if they can, survey the damage and exchange information. In this case, you may have only moments to get what you need. The best-case scenario may be a picture of the license plate. At the very least, if you can jot down a quick description that includes make, model, color, year or any other distinguishing features, you have some clues to give to law enforcement.
Although you want as many details as possible, State Farm warns that you should never pursue a fleeing vehicle. You risk losing any information from witnesses, and the other driver could claim that you were the one who fled the scene if there is no concrete evidence to the contrary.
2. Call the police
There is a good case for calling law enforcement after any accident so that you have a copy of the police report to provide to the insurance company. In Nevada, it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident, so that phone call does double duty in reporting a crime as well. While you are waiting for the police, talk to witnesses, take pictures of the area and find out whether surveillance cameras may have caught the accident on video.
3. Report the accident to your insurance company
Even if law enforcement does catch the driver who struck your vehicle, there is still a good chance you will be unable to file an insurance claim. Often, it is people without insurance who panic and leave the scene of an accident. You should be able to receive the help you need from your own insurance company, particularly if you have full coverage and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.