What to Do After a Hit and Run

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It may be shocking to learn that ever since 2006, each year has had an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes, according to the AAA Newsroom. Furthermore, as of 2016, the number of deaths caused by these accidents jumped up from the year 2009 by 60 percent. This means that every minute, there is at least one hit-and-run crash, but likely more.

Reasonable people understand the importance of being safe and aware of their surroundings whether on foot, riding a bike, or driving a vehicle of some kind. This is great practice, but even this careful behavior doesn’t guarantee that an accident will never happen.

AAA tells us that “hit-and-run crashes are a growing safety challenge.” They also report that 2016 was the deadliest year ever, according to their latest numbers. Accidents happen, and unfortunately, some accidents involve people that choose to disregard hurt or damage that they cause another person. What causes a person to hit another person and just race off? What causes someone to damage another person’s property and not own up to it? The truth is that there are a variety of reasons that this happens, but one thing is for sure, none of them are good.

Here’s What You Need to Know

  1. Hit-and-run cases are more about the events that occurred after the accident, rather than who is at fault for the accident. In fact, hit-and-runs can be caused by any of the drivers involved in an accident, whether or not they are responsible for the wreck.
  2. Every state has their own laws regarding punishment for hit-and-runs, but if the victim dies, the charge is most likely going to be a felony. Whatever the case, the guilty driver will face a jail sentence and fines. 
  3. Property is actually a potentially vital factor. In some states, there are certain statutes that do not acknowledge hit-and-runs as a crime if they didn’t occur on a public road. Commercial and residential property are considered private property.
  4. Passengers in a car that flee an accident can also be criminally charged.
  5. It’s not uncommon for hit-and-run drivers to face consequences such as civil lawsuits, penalties, and significantly higher insurance premiums on top of criminal prosecution.
  6. Call the police or 911 as soon as you are able. The police report will provide an official document for the incident and your auto claim process will reach its conclusion more quickly.
  7. It is possible to get the car insurance information of the guilty driver through your insurance if they are able to identify who hit you.

Try to Remember as Much as You Can

Information can make or break a case. The more information you can provide, the better your chances are of finding this person that hit you. Consider taking notes on your phone if you are able. Try to note:

  • What color was the vehicle?
  • Do you know the make and model?
  • License plate # (even just part of it?)
  • Were there any distinguishing markings on the car like bumper stickers?
  • Can you remember anything about the overall look/condition of the vehicle?
  • If it was at night, were their lights on? Were all the lights working?
  • What direction was it going?
  • Did you get a glimpse of the person driving?
  • Did they honk at you?
  • If there was a traffic light, what color was it?
  • What are the names of the streets in the intersection of the single street you are on?
  • Can you remember what way they were coming from?

Before You Leave the Scene

The following elements are extremely important to take care of.

  1. Evidence: Pictures of the accident scene or of damage to your car
  2. Make a note of the time and location of the accident
  3. Witnesses: If anyone was around when the accident happened and if they saw it, make sure that you have their name and contact information

Get Legal Support

If you have been victimized by a negligent driver, you deserve justice. The faulty driver should be held accountable, and you should be rightfully compensated. By working with a lawyer, your chances for a successful outcome can go up significantly, especially since hit-and-run cases often have many elements and there are many deadlines to keep track of in the legal process. Find a qualified car accident lawyer now who can ensure that you are adequately represented and given the best chance to succeed in your case.