Hit and run accidents are ticking upwards nationwide and in our home city of Huntsville, AL. While it is hard to determine the reason why these accidents are increasing, there is a known recipe for what leads to a hit and run accident.
In this article, we will discuss what factors make it more likely for someone to flee the scene of a car accident, what a victim can do in such a situation, and how you can protect yourself in the future from these accidents.
What Factors Make a Hit and Run Accident More Likely
There have been numerous studies by government agencies, psychologists, and criminologists to determine why someone chooses to flee the scene of a car accident. These studies show that the following factors make a hit and run much more likely:
- Driving Late at Night: Most hit and run accidents occur in the late evening hours or early morning hours. The reason for this is twofold: first, people are more likely to be driving intoxicated during the late night hours. Second, darkness gives the offender the perception that it is possible to flee from the scene and not get caught.
- Alcohol/Drugs: In most instances, the offender flees the scene because he or she is under the influence and does not want to face the legal ramifications.
- Criminal History: In other instances, the offender flees because he or she has an outstanding warrant from a prior criminal proceeding.
- Youth: People under the age of 30 are more likely to flee the scene of an accident. Whether it’s alcohol use, drug use, or a moment of panic, young people flee at a higher rate than the norm.
- Lack of Car Insurance: In many cases, people flee the scene because they do not have car insurance.
What to Do After Being in a Hit and Run Accident
Most people are in shock right after a hit and run collision. However, if you’re going to be able to identify the perpetrator, immediate action is necessary. Let’s discuss the steps you should take (or a friend should take on your behalf if you are injured):
In summary, you need to take these steps:
- Get eyewitness statements and contact information
- Secure any surveillance video (watch this video tutorial: How to Get Surveillance Video Footage)
- Photograph any debris
- Contact law enforcement and fill out a report
- Contact your insurance company
How to Protect Yourself in the Future
No one can predict if and when they will be in a hit and run accident. However, studies show that an average person will be in 3.2 car accidents during their lifetime. Other data shows that approximately 5% of total car accidents involve a hit and run. Therefore, there is a very real chance you will be involved in this situation at some point in your life.
Attorney Bart Siniard was recently asked by WAFF-48 to provide legal commentary in their news segment Hit and Run Cases On the Rise. In the segment, he discusses how you can protect yourself from hit and run incidents before they happen. Watch a portion of his interview below:
The only way to protect yourself from hit and run accidents is to buy uninsured motorist insurance coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is absolutely critical to have before you are in a car accident. It protects you from hit and run accidents, but also for accidents where the other driver has no insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages. To learn more about this critically important type of insurance, read our blog post about uninsured motorist coverage.
Been Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?
These types of accidents should rarely occur, but they are happening every day in north Alabama. If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident, let us get to work for you. We exhaust every resource to track down the perpetrator and collect compensation on your behalf.