Yes, you should report the accident even without immediately visible damages. In a car crash, you will likely obtain bodily injuries and property damages that may or may not appear instantly after an accident.
As damages surface eventually, you may use the initial police report as a reference for your hit-and-run case in the future.
Learn more about hit-and-run accidents with no damages and determine how to correctly resolve this situation by reading the article below.
What Is a Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run occurs when a driver causes an accident and flees the scene immediately after the crash without notifying the victim or authorities.
According to California Code 20002, a driver is obligated to do the following if they caused an accident resulting in damages or injuries:
- Stop immediately and move to a safe location nearby.
- Locate and notify the other driver or victim of the incident.
- Share the following information:
- your name,
- home address,
- owner of the vehicle used,
- driver’s license number, and
- vehicle registration.
- If the driver of the damaged vehicle is absent at the scene, the at-fault party should leave a note stating their personal information and contact details.
- Notify the authorities of the collision.
If the driver fails to fulfill the following duty when it hits you, the accident is considered a hit-and-run case.
Is a Driver Liable for a Car Accident With No Damage?
Technically speaking, a driver may only be held responsible for an accident if it results in minor to significant damages. If your accident has no damage, the at-fault driver will not have any expenses to cover.
However, if the crash results in minimal damage, the at-fault party should pay for the damage costs of the accident. Additionally, there are cases where a car accident victim experiences late-appearing injuries. In such cases, you must file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party to receive compensation for the damages.
To successfully win a personal injury claim, you will need to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The driver was responsible for ensuring everyone’s safety.
- The driver failed to fulfill this duty.
- The breach caused an accident.
- The crash resulted in injuries and other damages.
If the driver flees the scene and authorities cannot locate them, you must pursue a case against your insurance provider to receive compensation.
Similar to a case with an identified at-fault driver, you will need evidence to support your claim and receive a settlement from your insurance company. This is why it is essential to take photos of the accident scene and report the crash to the authorities.
If you fail to do these, you may seek assistance from personal injury lawyers who have the resources to gather sufficient evidence and prove liability.
Why Should I Report a Hit-and-Run with No Damage?
Some think reporting a hit-and-run accident without damage wastes energy, time, and, possibly, money. However, there is a significant advantage when you report such cases.
Sometimes, you may experience the following in minor hit-and-run incidents:
- Internal bodily injuries from the car crash that become visible after some time
- Minimal property damage, such as scratches and other internal malfunctions, may be revealed sometime after an accident.
When these happen, it is easier for you to claim compensation from the insurance company with an accident report on hand. Aside from that, you may also be awarded in a hit-and-run case when the driver at-fault is located.
What Are the Penalties for Hit-and-Run with No Damage?
In a hit-and-run case with no damage, the driver responsible for the accident may face the following consequences:
- license suspension,
- jail time (depending on the severity of the case), or
- point in the DMV record.
Suppose you can prove property damage or bodily injury caused by an accident. In that case, the hit-and-run case may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. In such instances, the penalties of the case will also increase.
What Damages Can I Include in My Settlement?
Some car accidents may result in minor damages. However, there are cases where victims suffer significant losses due to the crash. Generally, you may consider the following damages when computing your total compensation amount:
|Economic Damages (financial losses)||Non-economic Damages (non-monetary losses)|
| || |
These damages may be significant, especially if you incur injuries from the accident. While it is possible to determine and include these losses, how will you quantify non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering?
A personal injury lawyer can maximize your payout by considering all possible damages, such as economic and non-economic damages. If you experience late-appearing injuries from the crash, contact a legal expert to know your legal options and receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do in a Hit-and-Run with No Damage?
In case you or your loved one is involved in a car accident with no damage, follow these steps to resolve the incident correctly:
- Stop your vehicle immediately
- Do not leave the scene
- Call 911
- Collate all possible pieces of evidence, such as witness testimony or picture of the accident scene
- Check for surveillance or CCTV footage nearby
- Make an initial accident report
- Contact your insurance company
- Reach out to a legal expert
Sometimes, your insurance provider may insist that your accident did not result in any damage. This is usually done because they want to reduce or refrain from providing for the damages. When this happens, you may file a claim by:
- Seeking medical examinations to check if you have internal injuries caused by the accident.
- Having your vehicle examined by a mechanic to investigate internal damages or malfunction
Do I Need a Lawyer in a Car Accident with No Damage?
Some victims may think it unnecessary to hire a lawyer if there is no damage from the car accident. While it is true that you don’t have to file a claim for a car accident with no damage, there are cases where you may experience late-appearing injuries or internal car malfunctions months after the incident.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance company or your insurance provider if you didn’t collect any evidence at the accident scene.
A personal injury lawyer can help collect proof to support your claim. They will also do the following to win your case successfully:
- Retrieve evidence from different sources.
- Prove liability.
- Compute the total damages.
- Communicate with insurance companies.
- Proceed to trial if necessary.
Larry H. Parker Law Office has experienced personal injury lawyers with expertise in hit-and-run cases. We can help you determine the basis of your case, calculate the total damage, and negotiate the full value of your compensation. It is our goal to fight for your rights.
Call our office at 800-333-0000 to schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about your options. We will hear your side of the story, determine your choices, and provide you with frank legal counsel.