When people think about hit and run accidents, they usually imagine two or more cars colliding, and then one driver flees the scene on either foot or in their vehicle. However, there is another type of hit and run, in which the driver does remain at the scene but provides false information in an attempt to elude being connected to the incident. It can be incredibly frustrating to find this out later on when reporting the accident to your car insurance company.
Now, you may wonder whether the other driver can be tracked down at all. And, because you may not know who they actually are, your ability to pursue legal action against them directly may not be possible. Here we discuss what you can do to help prevent this from happening, and how to respond if it does.
Why do people even try to get away after a car accident?
There are several motivations for why a driver would try to get away after an accident. Chances are, this person believes that they are at-fault, and want to escape the consequences of their actions. That driver may have been speeding, is under the influence, lacks insurance, is living in the United States illegally, has a warrant out for their arrest, has illegal drugs in their vehicle, or some other detail that they don’t want to be found out by law enforcement. Some drivers try to flee because they know they will have to pay increased insurance prices and potentially compensate you for vehicle damage and medical expenses.
What can I do to ensure they are giving me accurate information?
When exchanging information with the driver, one of the best ways to help ensure they are giving you correct details is by asking to see their driver’s license or other form of identification. It is better to do this instead of writing down their information through their words alone, as they could basically make up any name they wanted. If you ask to see their license or identification yourself and the driver responds suspiciously, then it’s time to call the police for help. Before letting the other driver leave, you must gather these details:
- Their first and last name as written on the driver’s license or identification
- Insurance company name, policy number, and phone number as written on their insurance card (also check for an expiration date)
- The car vin number (located where the windshield meets the dashboard on the driver’s side)
- Current address, phone number, and email address
- The vehicle license plate number
Should I drive after them if they fled the scene?
Do not put yourself in danger by following the driver if they fled the scene without exchanging information with you. This driver could have a warrant for their arrest, be prone to violence, or in general may do something to put your safety at risk. The best thing you can do is try to remember the license plate number, description of the driver, and which way they were headed, then call 911 right away and a car accident lawyer in Des Moines, IA.
Thanks to Johnston Martineau, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and car accidents with false info from the other driver.