When another motorist hits you and causes damage to your vehicle, it's customary for both of you to pull over, assess the condition of your vehicles, and contact the police. However, it's possible for your vehicle to get damaged in an entirely different way while you're driving — by something that has fallen out of a truck or a vehicle's trailer in front of you. In such a case, it's likely that the other driver isn't aware of what has happened, and may understandably continue. Given that you'll want to identify the driver in the event that you decide to take legal action, here are some steps that you can take.
Quickly Assess Your Vehicle's Condition
Try to assess the damage to your vehicle as quickly as you can. If the damage is serious enough to affect your ability to drive safely, you have no other choice but to pull over. However, if the damage isn't a risk — for example, perhaps something that severely dented your hood, but the car still operates fine — you can feel free to continue driving.
Gather The Object, If Possible
It's ideal if you can gather the object that made contact with your vehicle. To do so, you must be extremely careful, and you should never put yourself in harm's way. However, if you've pulled over to a safe spot and stopped, and you see the object laying on the shoulder of the road, pick it up and place it in your vehicle. This object may be helpful for your car accident attorney to build a case for you, as the investigators may be able to tie the object to the other driver if he or she doesn't accept responsibility for the incident.
Follow The Vehicle
If you're safe to keep driving, try to follow the vehicle from which the object fell and caused damage to your vehicle. This isn't an opportunity to chase the other driver down to exact some sort of street justice. Rather, you should simply follow at a safe distance so that you can identify the vehicle so that you can provide this information to the authorities and to your attorney. Write down the make, model, and color of the vehicle, as well as the license plate number.
Wave The Driver Down
You don't have to attempt to stop the other motorist, but if you're calm enough and wish to do so, there's no harm in carefully pulling alongside and waving him or her to pull over. If you're both stopped at a red light, you can roll down your window and briefly explain what happened with the hope that the driver will pull over. If so, you can call the police as you'll want to have a copy of the police report to pass to your car accident attorney.
If you decide to pursue legal action, reach out to an accident attorney like Kaston & Aberle.