It’s always hard to believe that a hit and run accident has happened to you.
But any time a motorist collides with another auto, or a pedestrian, and leaves the scene without rendering aid or identifying themselves – it’s considered a hit and run.
This is always illegal and has the potential to become a felony if a person at the scene has been badly injured or killed.
Unfortunately, the very nature of this illegal activity makes it difficult to hold the other driver at fault for any damages or claims. To seek compensation, there are steps you should follow to increase your chances of recovering any damages.
Document any information you can at the scene
If you can get even a partial license plate number of the vehicle, along with the description, it can help. Write down anything you can remember, such as a description of the driver, any distinctive features of the vehicle: damage, bumper stickers, custom paint – and the direction it was going.
Seek out witnesses
Ask anyone at the scene of the accident if they were able to write down or photograph any of the above information. In this day, it’s almost second nature to record everything on your phone – maybe a pedestrian or another driver did. Be sure to get their contact info: Name, phone, address – along with any copies of their photos or video. If you find that you need an attorney later, they may wish to interview them.
Follow up on video footage from the scene
If there are traffic cameras or a nearby business with security cameras, there’s a possibility the accident was captured on video and can provide valuable identifying information. They can also prove that the other driver was indeed at fault, if there are problems with an insurance claim.
Contact the police
Always go ahead and file the police report so that law enforcement can follow up on any leads, and you can proceed with your insurance company claim. You’ll need the copy of the official report before you proceed.
Get medical attention if advised
Evaluating the extent of your injuries is essential. Don’t take the risk of life-changing injuries such as spinal cord damages: auto accidents are the cause of 38.3% of the spinal cord injuries that are seen by doctors. Even if you feel that you are okay at the scene, there can be trauma that can only be identified with an examination. With any medical treatment, be sure to obtain copies of records and bills.
Follow up with your insurance company
If you have more than liability coverage, you may be able to file a claim. Check your policy to see what coverage you have signed up for. Even with uninsured motorist coverage, insurance companies can contest hit and run claims, due to frequent fraudulent activity. It may be necessary to consult an experienced attorney to help you deal with any problems.
Hit and run accidents can be a real nightmare. Be sure to try and gather every possible bit of information that can help locate the other driver – and be prepared to consult an attorney for help with damages if you do. Should the other driver never be found, the correct coverage from your insurance company can be a real help – but be prepared for your claim with all the information and expert help you can pull together.