Wyoming law requires drivers to stay at the scene of an accident; it also requires the at-fault driver to pay for the damages they caused.
But when an accident is a hit and run, the other driver flees the scene.
So after a hit-and-run accident, you may feel confused and overwhelmed—largely because the at-fault driver has chosen to disregard their responsibilities and the law.
You can’t file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance because you don’t know who they are.
Of the 18,543 drivers involved in Wyoming crashes in 2020, 3.95% of them involved an unknown driver fleeing the scene.
This page will help you understand what to do in a hit-and-run accident and how you can begin to recover.
Stop the Vehicle Safely and Call Law Enforcement
If you’re in a hit-and-run accident and don’t know what to do, start by finding a safe place to stop your vehicle.
Usually, the safest place is out of the way of traffic. Then you should call law enforcement. When law enforcement arrives at the scene, they’ll create a police report or an official record of the accident.
They’ll direct traffic and begin to look for witnesses. They’ll make an assessment to determine if the fleeing driver was drunk and begin searching for them.
Get Medical Assistance If Needed
Next, determine if you or any vehicle occupants need medical assistance. You should seek a medical evaluation even if you don’t think your injuries are serious.
Common injuries in car crashes, such as whiplash, often appear days or weeks after an accident. A professional medical doctor can help you find these injuries before they become debilitating.
A medical diagnosis can also help you prepare to file an insurance claim.
Exchange Contact Info with Witnesses
If you are able, look for witnesses to the accident. Collect their contact information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and email. Your insurance company might need to contact witnesses later when you file a claim.
Take Photos and Videos of the Scene
Before you leave the scene of a hit-and-run car accident, take pictures and videos.
You’ll want to document the scene (for example, whether it was night or day or traffic was busy or slow) and the details of the damage, especially if the other car left paint on your vehicle.
These details can assist law enforcement in searching for the driver. They’ll also help your insurance company determine the value of your damages.
Contact Your Insurance
Finally, you should contact your insurance company. It’s better to contact them when the accident is fresh in your mind, so they can collect a complete picture of the incident.
Wyoming law requires every driver to have, at minimum, insurance coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury for one person and $50,000 per accident, and $20,000 for property damage.
However, personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are optional. Because these types of insurance protect you in the case of an unknown driver, you should consider adding these policies to your plan.
Even though Wyoming law usually requires the at-fault driver to pay for the accident, in the case of a hit-and-run, your insurance company should help pay for the damages.
What Is the Penalty for a Hit-and-Run Accident in Wyoming?
Wyoming law requires drivers to stop and remain at the scene of an accident until they give the name, address, and registration number of their vehicle to other drivers.
Every driver in Wyoming has a legal duty to stop, even if there is only property damage or if the damage is to an unoccupied vehicle.
Drivers must report the accident if there is an injury, death, or property damage greater than $1,000.
A person who fails to stop when there is only property damage commits a misdemeanor crime. For a first conviction, a driver faces a fine of $200 or less, jail time of up to 20 days, or both.
If the accident results in injuries or death and the driver fails to stop, they face jail time of one year or less or a fine of up to $5,000. They may also have their license revoked.
Platte River Injury Law: Focused on You
After a hit-and-run car accident, you may not know where to turn. Fortunately, our attorneys have experience supporting people who have been injured in car accidents, hit and run or not.
As a small, client-focused personal injury firm, we’ve dedicated our practice to helping good Wyoming people recover financial security and peace of mind after an accident.
Named one of the 10 Best Attorneys in Client Satisfaction, Jeremy Hugus will be here to answer the phone when you contact Platte River Injury Law today to get started with your recovery.