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Police officer talking with another officer in front of cars

How Long Do Police Investigate a Hit and Run?

You were hurt in a hit and run accident and never got a chance to identify the driver who hit you. To find the driver, you will most likely need the help of local law enforcement. But even with their resources and connections, finding the hit and run driver could be difficult for the police. After a while, they might need to give up or, more professionally put, call it a “cold case.”

How long the police spend investigating a hit and run accident depends on:

  • Precinct protocol: Police departments and precincts across the country will have their own rules and protocols for investigating a hit and run accident case with little or no leads. In some places, a police investigator is given 10 days to finalize an investigation and call for the next move, whether that be bringing in more resources or setting aside the case. In other areas, they might spend more or fewer days. When there is absolutely no usable evidence, a police investigator might be instructed to never begin the case in detail to save resources for other cases.
  • Available evidence: The evidence that police look for and find in a hit and run will impact how much time they spend looking for the suspect. Eyewitness statements, traffic or dashboard cams, and physical pieces of the other driver’s car are usually the strongest pieces of evidence available. If they cannot be found or used, then the police will not have much to go on, and they will probably have to set the case aside sooner than later. On the other hand, if strong evidence is located, then police investigators will be motivated to use it to its full extent.

What Happens If the Police Can’t Solve a Hit & Run Case?

When the police cannot solve your hit and run case and the suspect is never identified, there will be no way to bring a criminal or civil case against them. This does not mean that you cannot get compensated for your injuries and damages, though. If your auto insurance policy includes coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM), then that policy should be usable. Most UM/UIM policies will describe an uninsured motorist as someone who does not have insurance or who remains unidentified after a crash.

If you need legal assistance with a hit and run accident claim or to file a UM insurance claim, then Dunk Law Firm should be the first name you call. Dial (800) 674-9339 and speak with our attorneys about your options. We help clients nationwide.

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