Being in the smallest of accidents can cause a great amount of stress. However, not every accident is a simple fender bender. Hits and run accident happen all of the country, every single day. Not only are they happening every day, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hit and run accidents are one of the few types of car accidents that are actually increasing from 2006.
Some areas of the country are worse than others. In the state of California, approximately half of all automobile accidents are hit and run so it can be a daily risk for some drivers.
In the unfortunate event you are involved in a hit and run accident, you should do the following before calling your trusted personal injury lawyer.
Make Sure Everybody is Safe
After a typical accident, everyone makes sure anybody involved is safe, and if they are not, and police and paramedics are called. When everybody is safe, you exchanging contact and insurance information. In a hit and run accident, sadly, the process is much more chaotic. The first thing you need to do is remain calm as best as you can. Panicking can affect your memory of the event and hurt your chances of finding the suspect. Address any Injuries immediately by contacting emergency services as soon as possible.
If you, someone else in your car, or an outside witness noticed the car at fault, try to get as much information as possible about the other driver. Try to get the other car’s make, model, and color as well as their license plate number. It can be incredibly difficult to make out all the information while recovering from the accident, but any piece of information will be helpful to law enforcement so they can apprehend the other driver.
After getting as much info about the other car and driver, try to note exactly when and where the accident happened. This information can help police see if any security camera happened to catch the accident.
Also, try to get any other witness’s contact info. Finally, before leaving, take as many pictures of your car and the location of the accident. All of this can be beneficial to the police, your insurance company, and your personal injury attorney.
File a Police Report
Even if you think the odds of finding the other driver are slim, it is important to file a police report, either at the scene or later at the police station.
Tell the officer completing the report everything you can remember, copies of every piece of information you wrote down, and a copy of every picture you took. Even if the police never find the other driver at fault, having a filed police report can help you for insurance purposes.
Call Your Insurance
As soon as possible, call your car insurance company and file a claim. Most major insurance companies have 24-hour accident reporting so call first chance you get. The sooner you call, the quicker the insurance company can process your claim and you can pay any car repairs or medical bills from the accident.
If the police were able to find the other driver, give this information to your insurance agent so they can try to contact the other driver’s insurance company if they have any.
Contact an Attorney
In the fortunate chance the authorities do catch the other driver at fault and you had any injuries, you need to contact an personal injury law firm. A lawyer will be able to sit down with you, go over all the information in your case, and let you know how to best proceed. One option your attorney may have you follow is filing a lawsuit against the other driver. If you have any leftover medical bills, a lawsuit can potentially help you recover that money.
There is some risk in this choice.
Many drivers flee from the scene due to them not having insurance and not having enough money to cover any judgments against them. Even though a judge might order the driver to pay you, if they do not have any money, property, or insurance, then there is a chance you might not receive much compensation. Before making any decisions, you should consult with your attorney on all issues regarding your crash.