What Should You Do After a Hit and Run Accident? A Guide

Did you know that California has the most fatal hit-and-run crashes in the US? Along with Florida and Texas, California has over 100 hit-and-run deaths per year, and this number has been steadily increasing over the past decade. 

The most common victims of hit and run accidents are pedestrians and bicyclists (65% to be exact). The remaining victims of hit and runs are other drivers or children who run out into the roadway.

Hit and runs can be incredibly dangerous and if you or a loved one has experienced this type of accident, there are some things you should do after the accident. Read on to learn more. 

Don’t Leave the Scene

Just as a driver must stay at the scene or face legal consequences, you shouldn’t leave either. In some states, you are legally required to stay at the scene as well. 

Additionally, you won’t have much leverage if you decide to file a lawsuit against the driver if you leave. Stay at the scene and call the police. 

Try to stay calm while you’re there as well. If you can remain calm and collected, you’ll be able to do a better job recounting the details to the police. Stay in your car if it’s safe to do so. If you must get out of the car, make sure it is a safe place to get out.

While you’re waiting for the police, try to remember everything you can about the driver that hit you. The police will ask for details such as the color, make, and model of their car, their license plate number (even a partial license plate number can be helpful), which direction they were coming from, what they looked like, and any other distinguishing features of their vehicle, such as bumper stickers or tinted windows.

Call the Police 

If you are able, call the police right away or ask someone else to call them. You’ll need an accident report for your insurance company and the police will need to know about the accident, as a hit-and-run is a criminal offense if the driver knew that they hit someone or something and left the scene anyway. 

When the police arrive, give them as much information about the accident, driver, and vehicle that you can remember. They will ask you questions so they can try to find the other driver. Knowing any details can help the police search for a certain type of vehicle, notifying other law enforcement officers and agencies and the public what type of car they should be on the lookout for. 

The police will often find the vehicle shortly afterward, especially if there are surveillance cameras in the area. They can get photos and videos of the vehicle, where it came from and where it went, and any damage it might have sustained in the accident.

The police can also share information with auto body shops. If someone takes a car that was damaged in a hit-and-run into an auto body shop to get fixed, the workers may recognize the vehicle and notify law enforcement.

Before the police leave the scene, make sure you get information about how to get a copy of the police report when it will be ready, and the name and badge number of the responding officer.

Seek Medical Attention 

Even if you don’t think you are injured, you should still seek medical attention. Many car accident injuries, like whiplash, neck and back injuries, head injuries, and even internal bleeding might not be apparent immediately after the accident, and take a few days to emerge.

If you seek medical attention right away, you can take action to prevent these injuries from doing serious damage and treat them sooner rather than later. You’ll also need medical records from your provider for your insurance claim and if you wish to file a lawsuit against the other driver. 

Call the Insurance Company

You will need to notify your insurance company within a certain amount of time about the accident. Check your policy documents, but many insurance companies require you to report the accident and file a claim within 30 days. 

If you were the victim of a hit and run, there is a good chance that the other driver doesn’t have insurance, a driver’s license, and/or was impaired. If this is the case, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company to cover your medical bills and car repairs. 

Call an Attorney

You might even consider calling an attorney before you call your insurance company. If you don’t know who the other driver was, then you can’t file a lawsuit. However, if the police can find the other driver, you may be able to file a personal injury suit. 

An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a strong case, what your case is worth, and handle the process for you. Chances are, the other driver probably doesn’t have insurance. Without filing a lawsuit, you won’t get any compensation from them. 

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today 

If you or a family member has been the victim of a hit and run accident, contact an attorney today. They can help you determine if you have a strong case and ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries, damaged property, and any pain and suffering or other losses due to their actions. 

Here at Sweet Law, our attorneys specialize in personal injury cases, including car accidents. Contact us today for a free case consultation. 

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