Car accidents can be traumatizing. They happen in a matter of seconds, and sometimes you end up responding randomly, in a way that is not well thought-out. Sometimes another unexpected event happens and the person who crashed into you flees the accident.
In the event of a “hit and run” accident, there are essential steps that you must take. As a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver, you must ensure that you can protect yourself financially, legally, and medically.
There are real consequences in not knowing the right strategy and response. You need to arm yourself with the practical knowledge of what to do. To help you, we’ll provide these legal considerations on what to do if you’ve been in a “hit and run” vehicle accident.
Why Does A Driver Flee After a Car Crash?
There are a lot of reasons that a driver flees from an accident. The driver might:
- Have been drunk
- Have panicked
- Be lacking in character
- Be lacking empathy
- Have a bad driving record
- Be fearing the consequences
- Have no license
- Be wanted for criminal activity
You’ll be punished by law if you run away from an accident, so whatever reasons you think you have, you should never flee the scene of a car accident. If you do this, you will not only be facing multiple charges, but also incarceration and hefty fines.
What To Do If You’re a Victim of a “Hit and Run”
You have a lot of legal actions that you can take if you are the victim in a “hit and run” accident.
- You should never leave the scene of the accident.
Never try to run after the perpetrator, as this only makes things worse for you. If there are damages to property or people who have been injured, the law requires you to stay in the area of the accident. The best thing to do is wait for the emergency responders and police to arrive.
- Call law enforcement as soon as possible.
Call the police as soon as you’ve made sure everyone is safe. And when the police arrive, make sure you answer their questions to help them make the police report. The police report is critical and it is beneficial for you if you intend to file a lawsuit.
The police report helps you determine the extent of the damages and injuries you’ve received from the accident. And even if you can’t find the culprit, you’ll be able to use the police report when you file a claim with your insurance provider.
- Collect as much evidence as you can.
It’s essential that you immediately gather evidence to protect your rights. This will help you prepare for a property damage claim or personal injury claim. It will also help you if the person at fault files a case against you.
Remember to take:
- Video footage from CCTV in the area
- Video footage of the incident from your dashcam
- Photographs of your injuries
- Pictures of damages to your property/properties
Videos and pictures are demonstrative evidence, which can make your claim stronger.
- Write down any notes of the events that you can recall.
If you can, immediately write down the things that you recollect about the accident. As memory tends to fade, you shouldn’t wait for time to pass by before you do this.
Take down notes of:
- The things that transpired before, during, and after the incident
- The perpetrator’s license plate number
- Make, color, and model of the perpetrator’s vehicle
- Which direction the person at fault was headed
- Scan for any witnesses.
Contact anyone who was at the scene of the accident, as they can be possible witnesses. They are vital as they can help you look for the one who’ve hit you and help you prove your claim.
When you find the witnesses, you can ask them:
- If they’ve seen the face of the prepetrator
- If they’ve seen the prepetrator’s license plate number
- If they can help you describe the perpetrator’s vehicle
- For their contact information
- If they’re willing to give an official statement to the law enforcement
- See a doctor.
If you’re physically involved in the accident, you should be checked by a doctor. The doctor will help prevent your injuries from getting worse.
The medical report is also critical if you file for compensation. Insurance companies will not accept your claim unless you have proof that your injuries came from the crash.
- Get in touch with a lawyer as soon as you can.
A lawyer will be able to help guide you on the things you need to do. Be sure that your lawyer is well-versed in dealing with “hit and run” accidents, or car accidents in general such as ones here, especially if you’ve gained injuries in parts such as the hips.
Be sure to be completely honest with your lawyer, and to show him/her the pieces of evidence that you’ve gathered regarding the accident.
An accident is a horrifying event. The next steps you take after the accident are crucial, and this is why you should move forward with caution. Follow the tips above and proceed carefully with the help of your lawyer. This way you’ll receive your well-deserved justice.
Disclaimer: material within this article is only a general overview regarding “hit and run” accidents and victim rights. Should you or anyone that you know be involved in a “hit and run” accident, contact a lawyer immediately. He/she can help and guide you regarding your next steps.
Irene Wall has been writing about law for more than a decade. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. She enjoys playing basketball with her sons during her free time