Act quickly. Doing so is the only way to protect yourself physically and financially.
First: Check for injuries. See if you or anyone else needs medical attention. Move your car out of traffic. If your car is not operable, turn your hazards on and stay in your car.
Second: Write down any information you have about the driver or the vehicle. (We have included a checklist in the next section.)
Third: Call 911. The quicker you call 911, the more likely the police will be to catch the hit-and-run driver. And if anyone needs medical attention, the 911 operator can dispatch an ambulance. We recommend you have EMTs come to the scene even if you are unsure about whether you suffered injuries.
While you are waiting for officers to come to the scene, ask any eyewitnesses if they remember anything about the vehicle (e.g., make, model, color, license plate number). This might allow the officers to catch the hit-and-run driver more easily.
Note: If the police do not come to the scene or make a report, you should go to the nearest police station and make a report. The police report will help protect your claim for property damages and injuries.
What should I tell the police officer?
Tell the officer as many details as you can remember. Sometimes a small detail is the very thing that helps the police locate the hit-and-run driver.
Any of the following can help the officer find the driver who fled the scene:
- Color, make, model and approximate year of the hit-and-run vehicle
- Direction it was going when it left the scene
- License plate number (even a partial plate number can help)
- Damage to your vehicle (this can help the officers look for coinciding damage on the other vehicle)
- Anything unique about the vehicle, such as a bumper sticker or detailing
- Driver’s appearance
- Description of anyone in the vehicle
- Names and contact information of witnesses
What should I do after I leave the scene?
Third: Notify your insurance company of the wreck. Ask your agent about any coverage you have that may pay your damages if officers never catch the driver. If you have uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection, it will help with your damages.
Fourth: Talk with a car accident lawyer. Ask your lawyer about your possible options for recovering compensation, whether the officers find the hit-and-run driver or not. Your attorney can advise you about legal actions you can take to recover compensation if officers eventually catch the driver.
Dos and Don'ts After a Hit and Run Accident
In the emotionally charged moments following a hit-and-run crash, it can be difficult to think clearly and remain calm. However, there are things you should do and things you should avoid to protect yourself.
After a hit-and-run accident, do:
- Seek medical attention
- Contact the police to file a report
- Get names and contact information of all witnesses
- Notify your insurance company
- Get sound legal advice
After a hit-and-run accident, do not:
- Chase the driver. You could create a dangerous situation, cause another accident, or injure yourself.
- Assume that the driver fleeing the scene wipes clean any negligence on your part
- Say anything to the insurance company that could hurt your claim. Do not agree to a recorded statement.
- Admit or suggest fault
Get help from the Law Offices of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today.
Hit-and-run fatalities are on the rise, reports the Insurance Information Institute. As the numbers of hit-and-run crashes increases, the more likely it is that you will be involved in a hit-and-run accident.
These accidents are complicated and difficult. They require a level of expertise greater than that required for a standard car accident claim. There will be complex insurance issues as well as much more involvement with law enforcement than in the ordinary car crash. Whether they finally catch the hit-and-run driver or not, you should have a knowledgeable car accident attorney on your side to handle your claim.
For help with your car accident claim, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today at 404-474-0804 for your free consultation.