Written on Jan 21, 2014 10:20:00 AM
5 Things to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
An accident can happen to anyone, and may happen to you. Unfortunately, that may mean that you could be the victim of a hit and run accident. By its self-explanatory definition, a hit and run accident occurs when you are hit by a vehicle that proceeds to drive away from the scene, or if you drive away from the scene if you hit someone or something. When you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you may feel like the situation is hopeless. Keeping the following five steps in mind after a hit and run accident will help you be prepared to handle the situation.
After the accident, you will need to contact the appropriate authorities, including the police, your insurance company, a personal injury attorney, and emergency services if you or a passenger have been injured. Other steps include writing down all available information and identifying witnesses. The first step in vehicular preparation is keeping a notepad and writing utensil in your glove box at all times; occurrences like these will cause them to be very helpful. Above all, stay calm. Keeping a level head will help you remember the following steps in the event of a hit and run accident.
1.) Contact Emergency Services and Report Your Accident
That notepad to keep in your car is not just for taking notes; write down the phone numbers for your local emergency services, including the local police station. With that notepad in your car, you will have the resources you need to contact to ensure that everyone is safe with the accident safely reported.
Your first concern after an accident should be for your immediate safety as well as the immediate safety of your passengers. If anyone is injured, call emergency services so any injuries can be treated by a medical professional. Take note the effects that the accident had on everyone involved, and keep tabs on any recurring pain after the accident. Spinal injuries and other such wounds take more time than others to be recognized as something more dangerous than previously thought.
Your second phone call should be made to the police to report the accident. This is an important phone call, because the police develop the report on what happened; the document then becomes an important factor in any following proceedings. When they arrive and ask for your end of the accident, do not embellish any details. Give an unbiased account of what occurred. In the event of a hit and run accident, be sure to give as many details as possible about the driver that hit you.
2.) Write Down All Information Available
The most important item to have in your hand after any accident is your notepad. After you make your phone calls and are safely parked to the side of the road, write everything about the incident in your notepad. In a hit and run accident, the other driver’s license plate number is the most crucial piece of information; take down or commit the number to memory as they drive away. If you take note of the license plate, authorities will be able to track down the owner of a car, or they would be able to find out if the car was stolen. Any description you can give about the car itself is just as important as well. These pieces could be anything about the car, including the make, model, any dents or recognizable features, such as bumper stickers, larger wheels, or anything on the antennae. A description of the driver is also important to take note of, as well as the time in which the accident took place.
Write down the environment as well. What was the weather like? What was the condition of the road? Were you stopped at a stop sign, red light, or a parking lot? Even the smallest detail could make a difference, so be sure to write down everything that you experienced and saw. This is why focusing on everyone around you while driving is very important. If you have a camera handy, take pictures of any damage to the car or any of your injuries.
3.) Identify Witnesses
After you took note of the description of the car, the driver, or both; keep an eye out for anyone around you that saw the hit and run accident. Approach them and ask if they saw the accident and if they would be willing to be a witness to the accident. If someone had stopped and helped you upon seeing the event occur, you could ask them to be the witness. If they agree, ask to write down their name, contact information, and what they saw. Let them know that you will only share the information only with legal authorities and your insurance company or personal injury attorney if they request it. Do not forget to thank them. Witnesses are beneficial as they can confirm the event with an outsider’s perspective. Give them your own contact information as well as further correspondence. Their information will also be written on your notepad.
4.) Contact Your Personal Injury Attorney
As a method of preparation before the event of an accident, write down the name and contact information of your personal injury attorney. This is a good reference to remember as a contact. Call them upon retrieving the information you need. A personal injury attorney will be able to aid you through the legalities while helping you obtain the money you deserve. Compensation may be able to be collected, and your personal injury attorney can help you receive it, so you can pay your expenses and worry less about your situation.
5.) Contact Your Insurance Company
Along with the name and contact information of your personal injury attorney, write down the contact information of your insurance company to call along with your other post-accident contacts. Be sure to share with your insurance company the information and notes you gathered, including the statement of the witness. They may ask to see the police report and any pictures. Meet with your insurance agent to discuss your coverage. Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may be covered in the event of a hit and run accident. Be sure to understand your insurance policy as soon as you purchase it to avoid any later confusion. You may be covered for this type of accident with your policy, which would save you both time and money.
After the accident itself, remember you are not alone. Emergency services, the police, and insurance companies exist to bring you safety and situational closure. Your personal injury attorney will also be there for you every step of the way. By keeping this in mind while remaining calm, you will be able to take control of the situation. Driving away from the scene of the accident is a cowardly crime, and the hit and run driver may be brought to justice if enough information is collected and recorded. By following the aforementioned steps, you can bring yourself the peace of mind you deserve. Another tip is writing these steps in the notepad to keep in your car, to ensure optimum handling of the situation. Be sure to call your immediate loved ones as well to let them know you are safe. At the end of the day, keeping yourself safe through this situation is of utmost importance.