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What to Do if You Have a License Plate Number From a Hit and Run


Hit and run drivers while hit and run drivers and accidents are unfortunately common, adding to the trauma of an auto accident is the added stress of the offending driver fleeing the scene. But imagine this, amidst the chaos, you’re able to jot down the license plate number of the escaping hit and runs’ vehicle. What then? In this article, we’ll guide you through the next steps and how to use that vital piece of information effectively.

acura rear, break lights, hatchback

Importance of Reporting Hit and Run Incidents

“Hit and run drivers’ incidents aren’t just unethical drivers, they’re illegal. Reporting these incidents ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. This not only serves justice but also promotes safer driving habits. Insurance companies also rely on these reports to maintain a balanced and fair insurance premium structure for all drivers.

What to Do Immediately After the Incident

Ensure Safety

The immediate aftermath of your car being involved in an accident can be chaotic. However, your priority should be your safety. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid your vehicle causing further accidents.

crime scene, patrol cars, police

Write Down Every Detail You See

If you’re conscious and able to record some notes about the vehicle damage and accident scene, you should. Documenting every detail of the accident and police report it is vital. However, the most crucial detail to write down is the car’s license plate number.

A license plate number identifies a vehicle. While it doesn’t tell you who drove the car, it will tell you who owns it. If you can see the license plate number, write it down, as your memory might fail you if you don’t. 

You can also write down other information about the vehicle fleeing driver involved in a hit and run incident or the scene of an accident itself. For example, what color was the other driver’s car? What make and model was it?

Can you remember how the accident occurred? Did you see any witnesses? 

You might not know the person who hit you and fled the scene, but these details can help the police determine who it hit and runs it was. Therefore, write down everything you see from the accident scene.

Reporting the Incident to Authorities

Call the police immediately. Someone else might have already called the police after witnessing your accident, but it doesn’t hurt for you also to contact them. The goal is to get the police there quickly.

Hit and runs are nothing new for the police as thousands of hit and run accidents occur yearly. In 2015, more than 737,000 hit and run accidents took place, and the number continues rising each year.  

The police will create an accident report, documenting every detail of the driver and accident.

For example, they’ll write the time it occurred, the location, and the vehicles involved. Additionally, the two police officers will write down the names of the witnesses.

You’ll need to get a copy of this police report to proceed with settling your own hit and run accident case. Your insurance company will need it, and you’ll also need to give it to your personal injury lawyer if you hire one.

Insurance Company

If you have full coverage auto insurance, you may have coverage for hit and run collisions. You might also have coverage for accidents involving noninsured drivers

Uninsured motorist collision coverage that protects drivers from accidents people cause when they don’t have auto insurance. If you can’t find out who caused the accident, you can file a claim against this car insurance company or with your own car insurance company or policy itself.

However, the insurance company has the right to file a claim against the responsible or guilty party, if they have insurance. So, for example, if the police determine the other driver’s identity, they’ll tell you.

You can give this information to your insurance company so they can file a claim against that person’s insurance. Many drivers leave accident scenes for a reason, though, and one reason is a lack of insurance. 

Therefore, there is a good chance the person or vehicle that struck you doesn’t have auto insurance. However, there are several other tools you can use in this case.

calculator, calculation, insurance

Stay in Contact With the Police

One critical step to consider is staying in contact with the police after the accident. If you provided insurance information to the police with the person’s license plate number, they should have no problem determining who owns the car.

When they figure out the other driver who’s been hit and run have license plate number, plates and car’s ownership rights, they can pursue the case. The police will likely contact one driver and the car’s owner to question them about the accident.

They may also look at local video camera surveillance to acquire more information about the accident. The police should have no problem finding out who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. 

If you don’t hear from the police within a few days afterward, you can contact them. You should stay in touch with them, as you need the driver’s name to proceed with your case.

The Role of Private Investigators

Locating the Hit and Run Driver

In some cases, especially accidents or in areas with strained law enforcement resources, a private investigator or attorney can be a useful ally. They can use the car and license plate number to find the vehicle fleeing driver or other vehicle and license plate’s registered owner.

Gathering Additional Evidence

Private investigators can also support the victim or case by gathering additional evidence. This could include obtaining surveillance footage from nearby buildings, interviewing potential witnesses, using witness statements and researching the background of the victim or suspected perpetrator involved.

Civil Suit

If the hit and run driver is found guilty or identified, a civil lawsuit can be filed against the driver or person behind them. This suit can seek compensation for injured someone for damages, including medical expenses, vehicle repairs, loss of lost wages, and even for psychological distress.

Criminal Charges

A hit and run is considered a serious offense. The driver, once identified, can face criminal charges, which can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on jail time, the location, severity of the collision scene, other party of an accident and local laws.

hammer, dish, law

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

While you may file a car accident claim with your auto insurance provider, you’ll also need to hire a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer helps you fight for your legal rights. 

The first legal right you have is to a civil lawsuit to seek compensation from the responsible driver for the damages they caused in the accident.

Secondly, you might be able to sue them for leaving the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal, and the person who did this should be held responsible for it. 

Your attorney will assist with investigating the accident, communicating with the police, and settling your matters with your auto insurance company.

They’ll also help you settle the case with the at-fault driver and any legal ramifications that you can pursue.

a book, paper, document


Dealing with a hit and run incident is undoubtedly stressful, but having the license plate number is a vital piece of information that can lead to the perpetrator. It’s crucial for hit and run drivers to stay calm, ensure safety, document the location at fault driver a hit and run incident, and report it promptly.


1. What should I do if I only remember part of the car accident license plate number? Even partial license plate numbers can be useful. Report it to the insurance company or the police and provide as much detail as possible about the other driver, other vehicle used, and the incident. The insurance company or police might still be able to use this information in their investigation.

2. How long does it usually take to find a hit and run driver? The time it takes police officers to locate a hit and run driver can vary greatly. It depends on the information available, resources of the local police department, and the specific circumstances of the case.

3. How can I help prevent hit and run drivers and accident incidents? Promoting safe driving habits and being vigilant on the road can help prevent hit and run accident incidents. If you witness a hit and run accident, report it to or call the police with as much detail as you can remember to help apprehend the hit and run offender.

4. What about what auto insurance policies do if the hit and run driver is uninsured or underinsured? Your own auto insurance policy might cover hit and run incidents, even if the offending hit and run runs driver is uninsured or underinsured. It’s essential to check with your auto insurance provider to understand your coverage.

5. Is it worth hiring a lawyer after a hit and run incident? Hiring a lawyer can be beneficial, especially if you’ve sustained significant injuries or damages. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal proceedings, deal with insurance companies and witnesses, get property damage, and ensure that your rights are protected.

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