What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Merrida Coxwell with Coxwell & Associates.
Being involved in a hit and run accident can be scary. It’s important to know what steps to take after a hit and run in order to protect you and your passengers from further damage. Above all, it is important to remain at the scene and contact your insurance company right away. Purchasing uninsured motorist protection can help protect you in case of a hit and run or an accident with an uninsured motorist. Many hit and run drivers are never located; when this is the case, it can be extremely difficult to recover financial compensation for the injured party’s damages.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, reach out to a car accident attorney to learn more about your options.
Steps to take after a hit and run accident include the following:
- Remain at the scene. It is imperative that the victim of a hit and run accident remain at the scene until police arrive. Leaving the scene could result in a variety of complications, including doubt as to who was actually at fault for the accident. Additionally, there is important information and evidence that may not be available if not obtained immediately at the scene of the accident.
- Call 9-1-1. Call 9-1-1 immediately after being involved in a hit and run accident. This is especially important if you or any passengers are injured and need immediate medical care. This also ensures that trained law enforcement can arrive at the scene as soon as possible to begin their own investigation and report of the matter.
- Collect information. Collect any information you can remember regarding the car that fled. A vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number can all be identifying features for law enforcement to search out when they look for the hit and run driver. It’s also important to note the direction which the driver fled in and at what time they did so.
- Take pictures. Take pictures of any damaged property and/or injuries which occurred as a result of the hit and run. This may include pictures of your own and/or another vehicle, damaged property on the street as a result of the accident, and injuries sustained in the hit and run incident.
- Talk to witnesses. Talk to witnesses at the scene and collect their contact information. It can help to know that other people witnessed the event and can back up your report to the police. You may also choose to ask a witness if you can record their testimony on your phone to ensure that an eye-witness testimony is preserved.
- Contact your insurance company. It’s important to let your insurance provider know that you were involved in a hit and run, as well as what kind of damages were sustained in the accident. If the insurance company offers an amount in compensation that seems unfair, refrain from agreeing to anything before speaking to an attorney.
- Seek medical care. This is especially important, even if you don’t feel injured at first. Some injuries sustained in a car accident may not be felt for days or even weeks after the collision. However, waiting to seek medical care can negatively impact your case down the road.
- Talk to an attorney. Reach out to a car accident attorney to discuss your options, including how to deal with your insurance company and in what other ways you might seek compensation.
It may take around 10 days for police to finish their investigation into a hit and run, so try to be patient and focus on working with your insurance company and seeking medical treatment in the meantime. Your eligibility for compensation may depend on whether or not the driver responsible for the hit and run is located, in which case you should be contacted regarding the arrest. If the hit and run driver is found, if they have insurance that should be used to compensate your damages. However, if the driver is not found or their insurance is insufficient, it will be up to your own insurance company to compensate the damages, assuming your policy has hit and run coverage.