Hit and run accidents can be stressful because the at-fault driver doesn’t stop at the scene, offer aid to the injured, contact the authorities, or leave any insurance or contact details. These drivers flee the scene for various reasons, including drunk driving, using an expired license, being unlicensed, driving on a revoked or suspended license, or panic. Leaving an accident scene is punishable by law. However, the punishment varies depending on each state.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, you can seek compensation for property damage and injuries via a personal injury lawsuit. If the at-fault driver is caught, you can get compensation from their liability insurance. If they aren’t caught, you can seek coverage for your losses and injuries through health insurance, Med Pay coverage, or collision coverage. Nonetheless, what you do after the accident will determine if you’ll get compensation. Here are eight steps to take after a hit and run accident.
1. Ensure your safety
Your safety after a hit and run is crucial. Check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle to ascertain you have no injuries. If you’re injured, call 911 immediately. Prioritize your safety and other of your passengers before engaging in other things. If the car is in a dangerous position after the accident, get out of harm’s way when it’s safe. Once the traffic is clear, move your auto to a safe place where there isn’t a danger of another collision.
2. Hire a hit and run accident lawyer
Since hit and run accidents can be complex, hiring an experienced lawyer like Raleigh hit and run accident lawyer is essential to safeguard your rights. They’ll file a claim against the guilty driver, represent you in court, and seek compensation for your losses and injuries. Attorneys, like those from attorneync.com, can help negotiate with the insurance companies (yours or the other driver’s) to ensure you get maximum compensation for your damages.
If the driver responsible for your accident is found, your attorney can help you prove liability. They can also assemble evidence to prove you were injured in the run accident. Hit and run accident attorneys can help you seek all damages, stop unfair insurer tactics, and get a fair settlement for your injuries and property damage.
3. Call the police
Calling the police after a hit and run car crash is important because they should prepare a report. The police report is essential, primarily if you intend to sue the other driver, as it contains the damage done in the accident and its cause. If the crash is severe, the police may block off the area to ensure free traffic when investigating. They’ll examine the cause of the accident, gather information on the persons involved, and collect witness reports. This will make it easier for the police to trace the run-away driver.
4. Gather evidence
You’ll need evidence to prove your claim when injured, or your property is damaged in a hit-and-run accident. Gather identifying details of the hit and run accident, including the responsible car’s model and make and the driver’s plate number to help identify the at-fault driver. Talk to eyewitnesses of the accident and record their statements. If any of them took a shot of the run-away’s plate number, take a copy of it.
If there are traffic or security cameras around the accident scene, you can use the audio and video recordings to support your hit and run case. You can also use photos and videos of the accident scene to prove the extent of the damages caused by the accident. Preserve your evidence and keep copies of it to present with your demand letter should the claim end up in court.
5. Notify your insurance company
While some people may be reluctant to call their insurance companies after a hit and run accident, notifying them is essential. Your auto insurance policy also requires you to do so. Since it might take time for the at-fault’s insurance company to settle the claim, reporting the crash to your insurance company ensures your coverage gets you immediate repairs done on your car instead of waiting until the claim is settled.
If the responsible driver doesn’t have auto insurance and you didn’t report the accident to your insurer on time, all the expenses might fall on your shoulders. Vehicle damages and bodily harm might cost you more than anticipated. Nonetheless, reporting the accident to your insurance company can help relieve you of this financial burden.
6. Keep your medical records and other associated costs
Your medical records will be valuable if you’re considering filing a hit-and-run accident claim. They can help prove that the injuries you got in the accident directly resulted from the run-away driver’s negligence. Without the medical records, insurance companies will use any argument to prove that your injuries weren’t as serious as you claim or were pre-existing to make your settlement as minimal as possible.
Medical records are convincing evidence that you were injured in the hit and run accident and that the injuries were as severe as stated. Diagnostic test reports and results, emergency room records, surgical records, hospitalization reports, doctor’s findings regarding the treatment you need and recovery prognosis, medication records, and more are some of the records you can use to support your claim. With this, you can ensure maximum compensation for your injuries.
7. Keep a record of your pain and suffering
After a hit and run accident, some impacts could leave a lasting effect, causing discomfort and physical pain for a long time after the accident. Pain and suffering may include prolonged discomfort, physical pain, mental health issues, loss of enjoyment in the activities you previously enjoyed, emotional distress, and loss of companionship if the injuries impact your spouse or family. Additionally, you might have gotten invisible injuries that aren’t obvious to the naked eye.
8. Adhere to the statute of limitations
The statute of limitations differs from one state to another. So, familiarize yourself with your state’s statute of limitations for hit and run cases to file your claim within the stipulated time. Failure to file the lawsuit within the set timelines robs you of the right to claim compensation.
Hit and run accidents can leave you shocked and not knowing what to do. Acquaint yourself with the steps to take after a hit and run accident for a successful claim.