Being in a hit-and-run accident can be a painful experience, both physically and emotionally. Because you never know when a car accident may happen, it’s a good idea to consider ahead of time what steps you should take if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation.
If you’re involved in a car accident, and the other driver flees the scene, there are five important steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights.
1. Safety comes first
First things first! Your safety, and that of your passengers or anyone else involved, is always the first priority in any car accident. Be sure to assess the situation and check for any injuries. Contact 911 and request an ambulance so any injured parties can obtain the medical attention they may need.
If you’re injured, seek medical attention immediately and keep a copy of all of your medical records related to the injury. If you have an existing condition that was exacerbated by the car accident, discuss it with your physician.
2. Call the police
Even if there are no injuries, it is still important to call 911 and get an officer to the scene of the hit-and-run as quickly as possible. The police will be able to assist you in documenting the incident and obtaining statements from witnesses. If the police prepare a report, be sure to get a copy for yourself so you can provide the report to your lawyer and insurance company.
3. Document as much as possible
After you’ve determined that everyone is okay and you’ve called the police, it’s time to document as much as you can and gather evidence. If there are witnesses at the scene, ask for their contact information. Take photos of your vehicle (including any damage), the road where the accident occurred, and the surrounding area.
In a hit-and-run scenario, the other driver has already left the scene, so try to remember as much as you can about the color, make, and model of the car. If you remember any portion of the hit-and-run driver’s license plate, jot that down for the police so you won’t forget. Look around for cameras on nearby homes or businesses that may have captured the incident, and report that information to the police.
4. Get legal advice
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you are likely to have questions about your rights and responsibilities. You should consider consulting an experienced personal injury attorney to help you deal with the insurance company and protect your interests. Remember, insurance companies might provide coverage for some incidents, but their goal will always be to pay as little as possible on any claim. An experienced attorney will be able to provide you with information about your legal rights and help you receive the recovery you may be entitled to as a result of the accident.
5. Call your insurance company
Even if you weren’t at fault, depending on your coverage, your insurance company might cover some or all of the damage caused by the car accident. Many insurance companies require that you report a car accident within a certain amount of time following the incident, so don’t delay in reporting the hit-and-run after you speak with a licensed attorney.
Where to get help with a hit-and-run car accident
A personal injury attorney can help hit-and-run victims obtain the recovery they deserve. Hunter & Everage is ready to speak to you about your car accident. Give our experienced personal injury lawyers a call today.