It can be stressful enough being part of a car accident when all parties remain on the scene, but when the other party leaves while you are still suffering the shock of the crash, it can add anxiety, not to mention the hassle of trying to gather evidence to determine who was at fault. Unfortunately, drivers will occasionally leave the scene directly after they have been in an accident.
Why does it matter if the other driver leaves the scene of the accident?
When you have been in a car accident you are required by law to exchange your contact details and insurance information with any other party that was involved in the accident. When one vehicle leaves, the accident now involves what is referred to as an ‘unidentified vehicle’ and this can be a hindrance to an insurance claim or civil action if there are injured parties. Here’s what to do if you are in this situation.
Do not attempt to go after them
It is important that you remain at the scene and do not try to chase down the driver who has fled. There are many reasons why they may have left the scene including that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are otherwise concerned about police involvement or do not have the relevant insurances. Either way, even if you are able to catch them there is no way to predict how they may behave, so it is prudent to stay where you are.
Check on the well-being of those involved
The other driver may not have worried about the well-being of those left at the scene, but that does not mean you shouldn’t look after yourself or anyone else involved. If any passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians have been seriously injured during the accident you should call 000 to have them attended to by paramedics or if the injuries are not as urgent they can be taken to a doctor or emergency room. Try to have any injuries seen to by a medical professional even if they seem minor as they may worsen over time and end up forming part of a compensation claim.
Collect the details of any witnesses
When the other key party has left the scene, building an accurate account of events is crucial. It will therefore be necessary to seek the contact details of any witnesses who may be able to assist in piecing together how the accident occurred and who was at fault. Witnesses may have a recollection of the type of car the other party was driving or its licence plate. The more details you have, the stronger the case you can build.
Collect evidence from the scene
In addition to obtaining the contact details of any witnesses to the accident, you should also try to collect any evidence from the place where it occurred that may provide an indication of who was at fault or what caused the crash to take place.
This may include photos and videos of any vehicles involved, skid marks on the road from tyres or any hazards or poor signage that could have led to the crash.
You should also report the accident to the police and provide as many details as possible about the driver and the car that fled the scene.
Seek legal advice
If you have been in a car accident, whether or not the other party has left the scene, and you require professional legal assistance with making an insurance claim or claim for compensation in the event you suffered an injury, please contact our experienced lawyers today on (07) 4052 0700.