How Can You Identify a Hit-and-Run Driver?
Protecting your legal rights after a car accident is never easy. But, it can be especially difficult when the driver who hit you flees the scene of the accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon in Pennsylvania, and if you are dealing with the aftermath of a hit-and-run, you are not alone.
If you are like most people in this situation, you are wondering, “How can I identify the hit-and-run driver?” Identifying the hit-and-run driver will allow you to file an insurance claim, and this will allow you to seek just compensation for your vehicle damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
7 Options for Identifying a Hit-and-Run Driver After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania
There are several potential ways to identify a hit-and-run driver after a car accident in Pennsylvania. We emphasize “potential” because the options that are available in any particular case will depend on the circumstances involved. With this in mind, the options that may be available in your case include:
1. Start with the Information You Have from the Accident
When seeking to identify a hit-and-run driver, it is always best to start with any information you may have. Do you know the color of the vehicle that hit you? Do you know the make and model? Did you recognize what state the license plate was from? Do you remember any of the license plate numbers? Where is the vehicle likely to have damage from the crash? Which way did the driver go after the crash? Any details you can remember will be helpful when conducting an investigation.
2. Work with the Police
In some cases, it will be possible to work with the police to identify a hit-and-run driver. When you report your car accident, you should be sure to tell the police that the accident was a hit-and-run, and you should share as many details about the other vehicle as possible. State and local police departments have various investigative resources at their disposal, and fleeing the scene of an accident is against the law in Pennsylvania.
3. Review Traffic, Surveillance or Doorbell Camera Footage
These days, cameras are everywhere. If your accident was recorded by a traffic, surveillance or doorbell camera, it may be possible to obtain the footage and use this to identify the hit-and-run driver. Additionally, even if the accident wasn’t caught on film, nearby cameras may have captured the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle before or after the crash.
4. Talk to Eyewitnesses
If anyone witnessed the accident, they may be able to provide information about the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle as well. When you are involved in a car accident, you don’t expect the other driver to flee the scene, and it can be difficult (if not impossible) to focus your efforts on reading a license plate. But, the situation isn’t as traumatic for witnesses, and they may have the foresight to read the other driver’s license plate (or pull out their phones) when the driver starts to flee.
5. Contact Local Homeowners and Businesses
Another option for identifying the other driver after a hit-and-run accident in Pennsylvania is to contact local homeowners and businesses. If you have any details about the driver’s vehicle, they may be able to recognize it and identify the driver. Or, they may have surveillance or doorbell camera footage they can share.
6. Use Social Media
Social media can also be an effective tool in some cases. Eyewitnesses may post about seeing a hit-and-run, or the hit-and-run driver may even post about causing a crash. It may also be possible to reach out to locals through social media and put out a request for any information they may be able to share.
7. Engage a Law Firm to Investigate
When you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is best to engage a law firm to take these steps on your behalf. Experienced car accident lawyers will know how to reach out effectively, and they will know how to collect and preserve any evidence that may be available. If it makes sense, your law firm can also hire a private investigator who may be able to use his or her skills and resources to gather information that you wouldn’t be able to gather on your own.
What if You Can’t Identify the Hit-and-Run Driver?
While it will be possible to identify a hit-and-run driver in some cases, in other cases, it won’t. So, let’s say you can’t identify the hit-and-run driver. What other options do you (and your law firm) have available?
In this scenario, your option may include:
- Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company – Along with Medical Benefits coverage (which is mandatory in Pennsylvania), you may also have other types of coverage you can use after a hit-and-run accident.
- Filing a Claim Against Your Vehicle’s Manufacturer – If a brake failure, airbag defect, or other vehicle-related issue is partially to blame for your injuries, you may have a claim against your vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Filing a Claim Against a State or Local Road Authority – Similarly, if an issue with the road played a role in causing your accident, you could have a claim against the government agency that is responsible for maintaining the road.
What if the Hit-and-Run Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
In many cases, hit-and-run drivers flee the scene because they don’t have insurance. If a driver is uninsured, he or she is also unlikely to have the resources necessary to cover any judgment you may be able to win in court.
As a result, in this scenario, your options are likely to be the same as those listed above. While it can be frustrating not to hold the driver accountable, hopefully, he or she will face appropriate penalties in criminal court; and, in any case, the most important thing is that you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Get Help from Our Car Accident Lawyers in Pennsylvania
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident in Pennsylvania, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we handle car accident cases statewide. To speak with a lawyer about your options in confidence, please call 888-777-7098 or request a free consultation online today.