The scene of an accident is a confusing place. As traffic weaves its way around a collision, ambulance sirens blare and smoke spills into the street. It’s an overwhelming setting for even the most cool-headed of people. The experience becomes even more grave when you realize the other driver has fled the scene.
It’s often difficult to know what to do when you’re involved in a car accident, but the stakes grow even higher when you’re the victim of a hit-and-run crash. You may feel scared, lost, and confused, but there is hope for accident victims, no matter the circumstances surrounding their crash. Make the best of a bad situation by following these steps:
Call the Police
This first step is necessary for all car accidents, but it becomes especially important when a hit-and-run has occurred. Report the incident to police and ensure they come to the scene of the accident to fully document the crime. Be sure to share any details you have about the other driver, their vehicle, and what happened in the moments before, during and after the crash.
Even the smallest of details can help police track down the missing motorist. Don’t fret if you didn’t catch the license plate information – the make, model and condition of the vehicle involved can help authorities narrow their search. If your car was parked and hit in your absence, share information about when you think the accident occurred. Every little bit of insight or speculation can help guide police to the perpetrator.
Seek Medical Attention
If you suffered injuries in the crash, it’s important to get examined by EMS and taken to the hospital for treatment. Not all injuries warrant an ambulance ride, though. If that’s that case, head to an urgent care center or see your own family doctor as soon as possible. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after a crash. The longer you wait to get your injuries documented, the harder it will be to convince the insurance company that your ailments stem from the collision.
Even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt in the crash, get examined just in case. Many car accident injuries don’t show up right away, and a doctor can help you identify any areas for concern. It’s important to document even the smallest of injuries following a car crash, as they can develop or worsen over time. Without initial documentation connecting the injury to the accident, the insurance company will be reluctant to pay out your claim.
Police will do their due diligence at the scene of a hit-and-run, but victims should also be proactive in collecting evidence to support their account. Snap photos and videos of the damage done by the hit-and-run driver, along with images of the road conditions, traffic levels, road signs and street lights. No detail is too small when it comes to documenting an accident scene.
If witnesses saw what happened, ask if they’re willing to go on record about the crash. Take video or audio recordings of their account, making sure to include their contact information and full name in your notes. Eyewitnesses are often the only difference between the police labeling your crash a hit-and-run or a single-vehicle wreck.
File an Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claim
Once the dust has settled, you can file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company. Most states require this coverage for collisions involving hit-and-run motorists and uninsured or underinsured drivers. Filing this kind of claim is akin to filing against a third-party insurance company. You’ll still need evidence and documentation of the wreck and your damages, but as long as you prove the accident occurred, the insurance company will likely pay out the claim.
Unfortunately, not every driver has uninsured motorist insurance coverage. Without it, hit-and-run accident victims must shoulder the full financial weight of the accident on their own. Should police find the person responsible for the accident, you can file a claim with their insurance company. Many times, though, hit-and-run drivers are not insured, so recovering financial damages can be like getting blood from a stone.
Find a Hit-and-Run Lawyer Now
No two accidents are exactly alike. This is especially true of hit-and-run accidents where any number of factors can contribute to the potential outcomes of the incident. Seeking justice is difficult when you don’t know who caused your accident. While it’s easy to feel helpless, there are options for hit-and-run crash victims.
Car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights and what next steps to take after a hit-and-run. No matter the circumstances that led to your crash, an experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the aftermath. While they may not be able to locate the driver responsible for your injuries, an attorney can help put your legal options in perspective.
Explore your roads to justice with a consultation – most personal injury attorneys offer them free to new clients. Lawsuit Info Center can connect you with a hit-and-run lawyer in your area today. To get started, simply click here.