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Actions to take following a hit-and-run accident

Pennsylvania road users who suffer injury, loss or damage due to the negligent actions of motorists may pursue civil remedies, but this option may not be available to them if the driver concerned flees the scene. Those in this situation who are able to should first gather as much information as necessary for the police. Thoughts are often difficult to marshal following an accident, but a description of the vehicle involved as well as its driver could be of vital help to law enforcement. Hit-and-run victims should also gather the names and contact details of as many witnesses as possible.

The first impulse in a hit-and-run situation is often to pursue the fleeing motorist, but acting in this way can endanger other road users and turn victims into aggressors. Police are generally highly motivated to apprehend hit-and-run drivers as they are frequently either impaired, driving a stolen vehicle or wanted by law enforcement for an unrelated matter.

Auto insurance policies are usually the only path to compensation for those involved in a car accident with a hit-and-run driver. Making a claim under the uninsured motorist provisions of an auto insurance policy is the only option for hit-and-run victims in most states, but the insurance laws in Pennsylvania may provide alternatives.

In Pennsylvania, drivers may choose to take out no-fault auto insurance coverage. This means that they make a claim against their own insurance policy after an accident regardless of who was responsible. Understanding the provisions of auto insurance policies can be time-consuming and extremely frustrating for accident victims, and a personal injury attorney with experience in this are may provide assistance. An attorney could also initiate litigation against hit-and-run drivers in the event that they are subsequently identified and apprehended by law enforcement.

Source: The Pennsylvania General Assembly, "Chapter 17-Financial Responsibility" , accessed on Dec. 19, 2015

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