Drew Barrymore put her Charlie’s Angel’s (SNE) training to use after she was the victim of a hit-and-run accident on May 12. After the actress, 33, was rear-ended in West Hollywood, she followed the other driver, took down their license plate number, and reported it to Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.
Barrymore’s quick thinking may help find the motorist who hit her because, although it can be dangerous to follow someone after an accident, getting a license plate number is instrumental to tracking down a hit-and-run offender. It’s something that all drivers should keep in mind since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that one out of every eight accidents nationwide between 2003 and 2006 was a hit-and-run.
Like Barrrymore’s, 80% of hit-and-run accidents, cause vehicle damage only. However, while most drivers are spared medical costs, if their insurance does not cover hit-and-runs or they do not have uninsured motorist coverage, they may have to cover the cost of repairs.
For this reason, Carolyn Gorman of the Insurance Information Institute says that there are some important tips that all drivers should keep in mind in case they find themselves the victim of a hit-and-run.
1. If possible get the license plate number of the offending driver. It is also helpful to always keep a disposable camera in the car so that you can take pictures of any damage that was caused.
2. Call the police immediately and have the responding officer fill out and file a police report. It is impossible to proceed with an insurance claim without a police report.
3. Call your insurance company and find out exactly what they require you to do in the situation. If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you may have to negotiate with the company about the coverage of repairs.
4. With the help of your insurance company, fill out a claim form. It is also important to ask your insurance company questions about the time limit for submitting the claim, the time limit on resolving claim disputes, and when your can expect them to get to you.
5. Finally, because insurance is state regulated, if you have any questions that aren’t being answered by your insurance company, you can always check with your state’s department of insurance.