Hit and run accidents seem to be on the rise as if people are more concerned about what will happen to them legally than what could be happening to the person they hit, whether in a vehicle or as a pedestrian. They don’t realize that once they’re caught — and they are often caught — that fleeing from the scene of an accident only leads to more legal trouble. But knowing that doesn’t help you at the scene of the accident if you’re a victim. Here’s what you need to know about handling a hit and run accident.
Get to a Safe Place
Sometimes, staying in your vehicle might be the safest place after getting hit by another vehicle, but other times, getting out of your vehicle and moving to the side of the road is the better option. No one can tell you what the safest thing to do is because it will depend on your situation, but you need to make sure you and any passengers are safe. If a pedestrian has been hit, if possible, make sure they’re out of traffic. If you can’t move the person, try to light the area up if it’s dark or create a barrier of some sort around the person until help arrives.
Call 911 or Have a Witness Do It
You need to get the police involved immediately, especially since the other driver didn’t stick around and especially if there are injuries. The police will put out an alert on the other car, which is critical in finding it quickly. Any delay in searching for the other driver can allow them to elude the law for longer or even escape altogether. Plus, you’ll need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company. If you’re not able to call 911 yourself, ask a witness to do it for you, but make sure the police are on their way as fast as possible.
Give a Statement
As soon as the police arrive and if you aren’t injured too severely, give your statement right away. Your memory will never be as fresh as it is right after the accident and you need to give the officer as much information as you can about the other vehicle. The police will also question any witnesses and determine what happened based on the evidence.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Usually, if you’re involved in a hit and run accident, your insurance company will pay for your damages and injuries, but they may not want to, especially if the accident was the unknown driver’s fault. You need to report the accident to your insurance company, explain that it was a hit and run, and obtain a copy of your benefits. Then, it’s a good idea to also contact an accident attorney. They will help you pursue a settlement with your insurer if they’re balking at paying. Plus, if the police find the culprit, you’ll need an experienced lawyer to negotiate a settlement with that person’s insurer or to take them to court.
Getting into an accident is never fun, but being the victim of a hit and run is downright awful. But, by taking the right steps after the accident occurs, you can protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.