When a negligent driver hits your vehicle in Illinois, that is bad enough. If (s)he then flees the scene, that is even worse. It places you in the immediate unfair position of having to identify him or her if at all possible. Unfortunately, statistics show that if neither you nor law enforcement officers identify the hit-and-run driver within a few hours after the accident, his or her identity may forever remain a mystery. Consequently, you must begin your identification attempts as quickly as possible.
If you are driving when the hit-and-run occurs, try to remain clear-headed enough to look at and memorize the fleeing vehicle’s license plate number. Pull over as soon as you can safely do so and write the number down before you forget it. In the likely event that you have no paper and pen with you, text the number to one of your friends or family members. If you happen to remember anything about the fleeing vehicle, such as its make, model, color, unusual bumper stickers, etc., include this information in the text.
After sending your text, call 911 immediately and request assistance from law enforcement officers. When they arrive, give them as much information as you possibly can about the hit-and-run, referring to your text message to refresh your memory. Make sure you and they inspect your vehicle for damage. Determining exactly where the hit-and-run driver struck you provides officers with a valuable clue as to the other vehicle’s damage. Many hit-and-run drivers are identified when they take their vehicles in for repairs.
Stationary vehicle hit-and-run
If a moving hit-and-run is one of the most dangerous kinds of accidents, a stationary hit-and-run surely must be one of the most frustrating. If you park your car in a parking lot and return to find that someone struck it, finding the perpetrator is even more difficult. Ask everyone you see in the parking lot if (s)he saw the hit-and-run and can describe the perpetrator and/or his or her vehicle.
Also go into all the nearby business establishments and ask if they have security cameras aimed at the parking lot. If so, one or more of them may have the hit-and-run on video. Do this right away because such videos usually do not last long; the recording devices continually overwrite the information on them.
If you must park your vehicle on the street in front of your home or apartment and discover that someone hit it, do not be afraid to knock on your neighbors’ doors and ask them if they saw what happened and can help identify the perpetrator. This may be your only hope of identifying the hit-and-run driver.