Did you know that a hit-and-run crash occurs every minute in the US? This number has been increasing steadily and hit-and-run crashes result in several thousand deaths each year.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit-and-run, you may be wondering how to proceed. We’re here to help. Read on to learn more about what steps to take after you experience a hit-and-run accident.
Remain at the Scene
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, stay at the scene. Just because the other person takes off, doesn’t mean there aren’t important things you should do at the scene of the accident.
Even if you don’t need medical attention or the damage is minimal, stay at the scene.
Note Any Details You Can Remember
If you are conscious and able to recall details about the driver, try to write these down or make a note on your phone. Note anything you can remember about the car and the driver. Things to note:
- Car make, model, and color
- Whether the car is an older or newer model
- Any noticeable damage (existing damage or damage as the result of the accident)
- Bumper stickers, magnets, or other defining markings
- License plate number (even if it’s just a partial number)
- The direction the vehicle was headed
If you saw the driver, make note of that too. What they were wearing, what they looked like, their general age and other characteristics are all important details to help police catch the driver, as leaving the scene of an accident is a crime.
Call the Police
If you are able, call 911 and have the police come to the accident scene. Again, even if the damage is minimal, you’ll still want to call the police as your insurance company is going to require a hit-and-run accident report, which the police complete. Many jurisdictions also require you to call the police if there are any injuries or property damage.
You’ll also want to give the police any information you can remember about the driver of the car that hit you. This is why it is important to try to make note of anything you remember about the car and the driver that hit you as quickly as possible after the accident.
Don’t Refuse Medical Attention
You might think that you aren’t injured, but many car accident injuries have delayed symptoms and the adrenaline from the accident may be masking your pain. Things like headaches, neck and back pain, abdominal pain and swelling, and even PTSD may show up days (or even weeks) after your accident.
It’s wise to allow the paramedics to look you over and go to the emergency room to make sure there aren’t any internal injuries or things that will have a delayed onset.
If you don’t feel that an ambulance is necessary, you can always drive yourself to the emergency room. Typically, most primary care physicians do not handle car accident injuries, so going to the ER is your best option immediately after the accident.
If the scene is secure and it is safe, take some pictures of the area and your vehicle with your cell phone. Photos of the immediate area, the conditions, damage to your vehicle, and any property damage will be helpful to the police as well as the insurance company.
Make a note of exactly where and when the accident occurred as well. If you can, try to get photos of your vehicle from different angles, especially if it isn’t driveable and gets towed away.
Get Contact Information of Witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident who stopped to help, get their contact information. This could be helpful to the police as they investigate the accident and can also be useful to your insurance company.
You might also look around to see if there are any surveillance cameras that may have caught the accident on video. There might be traffic cameras or cameras on nearby homes or businesses that might have footage of the accident.
You can request these videos or ask the camera owners to view them to see if there is anything that the police or insurance company can use.
Notify Your Insurance Company
One important question you might have is “who pays in a hit and run accident?” The unfortunate answer is you and your insurance company do. Typically, hit-and-run accidents will be covered under your underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, which most states require.
In some states, your deductible may be waived for a hit-and-run accident. Check your insurance policy to see what applies to your situation. If the hit-and-run driver is found, the insurance claim can also proceed under their insurance.
If police locate the other driver, it might be wise to seek the counsel of a hit-and-run accident attorney to get the appropriate compensation for your accident.
Protect Yourself After a Hit-And-Run Accident
To make sure that you are protected after a hit-and-run accident, follow the steps above. The most important things you can do are to stay on the scene, gather as much relevant information you can, and let the police and the insurance company handle the accident.
If you are in need of legal counsel to help you navigate the process, the attorneys at Sweet Law have experience with auto accidents and can help make sure you get any damages you are entitled to and help you work with your insurance company.
Contact us today for a free case consultation.