Everything you need to know about hit-and-run accidents

Everything you need to know about hit-and-run accidents  11th November 2022

Hit-and-run accidents are frustrating events where a driver causes an accident and flees from the spot to avoid getting into complications. In many such accidents, the driver and the vehicle causing the accident become untraceable even after reasonable efforts have been made to search for them by investigating authorities.

As per the 2020-21 report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, around 14.3% of cases of the total accidents that occurred in India accounted for hit-and-run. Section 161 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act outlines the guidelines and proceedings in case of a hit-and-run accident.

The victim of such an unfortunate event can get relief by applying for an insurance claim to compensate the damage done to the vehicle. Let us see what we should do to claim car insurance in case of a hit-and-run accident.

1. Note down all important details:
In a hit-and-run case, the aggrieved party should avoid running after the offending car to catch it. If you face a situation like this, your first immediate response should be noting down the car number and other possible details about the car and the driver that can help the police to track him down.
The same applies to a hit-and-run accident in the case of a parked car. You should try to find the registration number of the vehicle involved in the accident by going through all available CCTV footage of the vicinity.

2. Find witnesses:
In some situations, it is possible that you won't be able to spot the accused vehicle and the driver due to mental shock or other damages post-accident. In this case, try speaking to people present at the site and gathering as much information as possible about the vehicle and the driver that caused the accident and fled. This will help you recreate the scene and gather enough information to file a case.
If your car was hit while parked somewhere, try to find any possible witness of the accident. In either case, take the witnesses' names and phone numbers so they can testify for you and help you to get your car insurance claim.

3. FIR:
You must register a First Information Report or an FIR about the accident at the nearest police station to the accident site. The police will then investigate the case and prepare a report. The car insurance company will require a copy of the FIR to process your claim.

4. Procedure:
The first step after you get engaged in a hit-and-run accident is to inform your car insurance company about the accident. Then you need to file an application to the Claims Enquiry Officer of that Taluka. You can appoint an agent as your legal representative to handle the case. In case of death, your family or a legal representative chosen by them will look after the compensation process.
On being satisfied, the Claims Enquiry Officer will submit his report to the Claim Settlement Commissioner. He will further process the report and prepare a sanction report. The Claims Enquiry Officer will communicate the sanction order to the car insurance company.

5. Compensation:
Once the car insurance company is fully satisfied with the evidence and the report, it will cover the repair and replacement charges of the car as per the terms and conditions of the insurance contract. Other than the above compensation, the Central Government has also set up a hit-and-run insurance fund to compensate the victims of hit-and-run accidents.

The numbers of hit-and-run cases have been constantly on the increase in India. In such cases, the claim settlement process under car insurance is a bit lengthy. However, the police should give a report stating that the offender could not be traced before the insurance company settles the claim. Also, the complainant should prove that the offender was at fault and that the accident occurred due to his negligent driving.

Hit-and-run accidents can be terrifying and challenging to recover from. Hence, an active car insurance policy is essential for comprehensive protection. This will secure you and your family from any monetary losses from the accident and ensure that you safeguard your finances.

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Disclaimer: The information provided above is for illustrative purposes only. To get more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before purchasing a policy.