If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, your first inclination may be to chase after the fleeing driver. This is a bad action to take because it can put your life in more danger. Additionally, you’ll also be fleeing the scene of the accident, and that is a serious violation of the federal hit and run statute. The best actions to take are those similar to those you would take in an auto accident, but with a few minor changes.
Assess the Scene
Even though you and your passengers may be the only ones injured at the scene of a hit and run accident, you have to take the time to assess the scene. Try to determine how seriously everyone was injured. You should also look for the nearest major intersection to help the 911 dispatcher know where to send help. Before you call for help, try to recall anything you can remember about the hit-and-run driver. Any information you can provide will help the dispatcher in sending police to look for the other driver. Once you have made a few notes, you’ll be ready to call for help.
While waiting for the paramedics and police, you should collect any evidence you can at the scene of the accident. You can start by getting the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Your attorney, the insurance company, or others may need to talk to the witnesses to verify your version of the accident. Make sure that you click some pictures of the damages to your vehicle and other property in the area. For example, if the other driver hit a guardrail before striking your vehicle, having pictures of the damaged guardrail can help. Since the other driver fled, you likely won’t be able to gather much more evidence for your claim but document what you can with your phone’s camera.
Obtain a Police Report
When the police arrive, be sure to give them your full cooperation. When it comes time to make your statement, provide as much detail as you can remember. If they can’t locate the fleeing driver, you’ll have to file a claim with your own insurance company, so it’s in your best interests to help them. After you have written out your statement, be sure to request a copy of the finished police report. You may have to submit a request with the police department and pay a processing fee, but it will be worthwhile to have a copy of the report. The process for this might differ depending on the state or city in. So, if you live in Rochester, you need to find a Rochester personal injury lawyer who can get you the police report on time and help you file your claim.
Undergo a Medical Evaluation
Even if you don’t think you have been injured, you should still undergo a medical evaluation soon after the hit and run accident. You may have suffered brain trauma, spine damage, internal bleeding, or other injuries that don’t produce symptoms right away. Getting these conditions diagnosed early will increase your chances for a full recovery once you begin treatment. Additionally, delaying your medical care can reflect poorly on your claim. The insurance company may conclude that you weren’t as badly injured as you claim if you can delay receiving medical treatment for your injuries.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
As soon as you are able, you should talk with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in hit and run cases. An experienced attorney will be more successful in negotiating for a fairer settlement on your behalf. They will make sure that you file your claim on time and help protect your rights during the insurance adjuster’s interviews with you. If the fleeing driver is located, you may need your lawyer’s expertise in seeking damages against that individual and their insurance company. When a claim can’t be settled out of court, it helps to already have an attorney working on your side. Because of the statute of limitations on all types of injury claims, already having an attorney familiar with your case can help you start a civil suit sooner.
Your ability to stay calm and think rationally after a hit-and-run accident is crucial. You should familiarize yourself with the steps mentioned here because they will help you focus on the actions you’ll need to take after this type of accident. Following the proper steps will help you protect yourself from a legal, financial, and medical perspective.