In order to claim compensation in an accident, you need to know who you’re blaming and who their insurers are. People are required to stay at the scene of an accident or leave contact information so they can exchange information with the other drivers.
If they don’t, that’s called a hit-and-run accident. If this happens to you, contact the police and then contact our Phoenix car accident lawyers to learn what to do next. Here’s how the police will investigate your hit-and-run accident and find out who caused your accident.
Gathering Evidence at the Scene
The first thing investigators will do when they arrive is secure the accident scene to preserve evidence. This evidence will be crucial for finding the hit-and-run driver and to document your case for a later claim. They will look for evidence like:
- Debris from the crash
- Paint marks on your car
- Trails of fluid
- Skid marks
- Your vehicle position
- The general scene
They will also interview you and any witnesses to piece together the story and uncover leads that could bring the hit-and-run driver to justice. The damage to your car and other physical evidence can help them identify a vehicle with similar damage.
Your attorney will also use this evidence to show an insurer that their policyholder committed hit-and-run. If this claim is proven, you will have a strong case for substantial compensation. Hit and run drivers are automatically negligent.
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Video Evidence in Hit and Run Crashes
If your crash happened at an intersection or in a parking lot, then a video camera may have caught the accident. Many homes also have doorbell cameras that the police could use to look for evidence. You may also have a dash cam that recorded what happened.
This evidence will help them know who was in the area at the time of the crash and their vehicles. If they can discover which vehicle crashed into you, they can use that to narrow down suspects and, hopefully, arrest the hit-and-run driver.
Video evidence can also capture proof of other crimes. For example, some hit-and-run drivers are under the influence of alcohol. Video of their behavior could prove this. Additional proof of others crimes committed during the crash will improve the strength of your case.
Notifying Local Repair Shops
Finding a hit-and-run driver needs the help of many people. The more people the police can recruit to find the driver, the better your chances. Teamwork with the local business community can help police find fleeing drivers.
Most hit-and-run drivers will have damage to their vehicle and will want to get it fixed as quickly as possible. That’s not just for aesthetic reasons. The damage is a sign that they’ve been in an accident. Therefore, police may question local repair shops about the accident and ask for them to look for cars that match the damage at the scene.
If the police can match a damaged car part at a repair shop to the accident, they can pinpoint who the owner of the car was and discover who was driving at the time of the hit-and-run. They may also notify repair shops to be on the lookout for cars with particular paint marks and damages.
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Using Accident Reconstruction Experts
The police or your lawyer can also call on an accident reconstruction expert to make a simulation about how your accident happened and do their own investigation. They may find details that the police missed.
The simulation can help both your case and the state’s case against the hit-and-run driver. If the police decide to use the help of an expert, we can subpoena that evidence as part of your civil claim if the driver gets caught and charged.
Finding the driver is just the first step toward compensation for a hit-and-run accident. We still need to prove that they caused the accident and your injuries and other damages. Testimony from an expert will improve your chances of success.
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Asking for Help on Social Media
Social media has made it easier than ever for police to investigate hit-and-run accidents. If they can get a description of the vehicle or, better, video of the accident, one post is all it takes to get the public involved in the search. The public does not like hit-and-run drivers and will help you.
A local news agency may also pick up the story and interview you or the police about what happened. They can also ask the public to offer information about the driver. This information could be the key needed to find the driver before they get away for good.
Social media posts have another advantage. They’re persistent. Someone could find the post later in time and leave a tip. Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits. You can sue them for damages as long as the driver can be found before then.
Offering a Reward
If the police do not have enough leads to proceed with your case, they may offer a reward to the public. Rewards can goad someone who is afraid to come forward to reveal what they saw. The police will advertise the reward on social media, the news, and other means.
Sometimes people don’t want to come forward because they don’t want to be identified. They may fear revenge by the hit-and-run driver for their cooperation. Many reward systems come with an agreement to keep tips confidential.
The police may also have a dedicated phone line for tips about accidents and other crimes. This can help someone contribute information if they fear going to the police to make a report. Rewards and anonymity can help convince reluctant people to offer what they know.
The police have many tools to investigate how your hit-and-run accident happened and how to catch the driver. Your lawyer can help in the investigation. If you’ve been a victim of a hit-and-run accident in Arizona, contact Zanes Law to discuss what happened.
We can work together with the police to identify who hit you and bring them to justice. Learn how we can help by calling us immediately.