Q: What if the driver flees the scene and is never apprehended?
This is something that’s really important to know, and a lot of people don’t know about it: Wisconsin changed its law with regards to what we call “miss-and-runs.”
There are times when the person who causes the accident flees or leaves the scene, and they have caused the accident without actually contacting your vehicle. For example, a truck driver decides to change lanes. He doesn’t hit you but he forces you into the median wall. So, you’ve got the damage to your car, but it’s not from the striking vehicle.
That’s called a “miss and run,” and when a miss and run happens, you have to notify both the police and your insurance company almost immediately. You have to give sworn statements. There’s a huge process that has to be followed in order to enforce a miss and run. The process is designed to prevent people from getting compensation for those accidents.
If a miss and run happens to you, you need to contact a lawyer immediately because the time limits are so short, you could lose your right to a claim just for waiting a few weeks.
By comparison, a hit-and-run, where there is clearly damage from a striking vehicle, but that person has fled the scene is considered an uninsured vehicle and that’s where your uninsured motorist’s coverage would kick in.
Q: We don’t have to be able to identify the other vehicle to recover for a hit and run or a miss and run?
Correct. You don’t have to be able to identify the other vehicle, but you do need some corroborating evidence to the existence of that other vehicle in order to be able to support your burden of proof in the case. Recordings of 9-1-1 calls and witnesses will support your case.
Whether it’s a miss-and-run or a hit-and-run you need to contact an experienced car accident lawyer right away because that investigation needs to occur ASAP.
Is a 9-1-1 call recording sufficient evidence to establish a miss and run?
It’s one piece of a larger body of evidence. So, if you have a hit-and-run, hopefully you have a 9-1-1, hopefully you have a witness, hopefully you have obvious damage from another vehicle, maybe even paint transfer from another vehicle where you can show that a red car hit your white car, or vice versa. That’s the sort of evidence you want to get on top of.