Yearly, there are over 600,000 hit and run accidents in the U.S.; the victims include motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The actions you take after becoming a hit and run victim are vital to you receiving adequate compensation for your injuries and other losses.
1- Call 911
After a hit and run, your priority is to get medical attention. The 911 operator will dispatch an ambulance and the police. The officers will ask for your account of the collision so they can begin their investigation. To protect your chances of receiving compensation, don’t admit to any responsibility for the accident while talking to law enforcement.
2- Document Injuries
Documentation is all-important in winning a lawsuit, so take photos of your injuries. Upon being discharged from the ER or hospital, request copies of the medical records about your accident.
3- Take Notes
To aid the police in finding the person who hit you, document everything you remember about the hit and run driver’s car. Jot down the make model and color. Include a description of the damage to the vehicle that left the scene. Jot down as much of the license plate as you can recall, including the state from which it came.
A description of the offending driver is as important as a description of their car. Don’t rely on your memory. Write down the hit and run driver’s gender.
- Approximate age
- Height and Weight
- Distinguishing characteristics
The police not finding the individual who struck you might cost you the compensation you deserve. If possible, take photos of both cars involved and the driver that hit you.
4- Talk To Witnesses
By-standers have a perspective on an accident the victims don’t have. Ask people on the street, business owners, and their patrons if they saw the crash occur. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who are willing to get involved. While looking for witnesses, look on the outside of buildings for security cameras that might have recorded the incident.
5- Contact Your Insurance Company
Some auto insurers limit the time you have to file a claim, so report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. When talking with the insurance company representative, give an honest account of the accident, but be careful not to say anything to suggest you bear responsibility for the crash.
6- Seek Legal Counsel
Having car insurance is no guarantee of complete or even partial compensation for injuries and losses resulting from a hit-and-run accident. To be made whole, you need to consult a lawyer. Your insurer is only concerned with saving themselves money, but your attorney will focus on getting you a just settlement. Your lawyer, who knows all the tricks of the insurance trade, handles negotiations with your insurer for you.
A lawyer knows how to determine the financial value of your losses. By having an attorney file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf, you can recoup money for out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
An auto insurance policy with uninsured motorist coverage indemnifies you against monetary losses from a hit and run. If you have uninsured motorist protection, tell your attorney.