According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, each year, there are nearly 750,000 hit and run accidents in the U.S., resulting in more than 2,000 fatalities. And whether a hit and run accident results in injury (or death) or just property damage, it can be frightening, frustrating, and stressful. Learn more about the steps you should take immediately after such an accident.
If you, your passengers, or others have been injured in the accident, it’s crucial to get medical attention as quickly as possible. If no one is injured, you can summon law enforcement to the scene by calling the non-emergency number. But in all cases, you’ll want to call the police to report the hit and run and provide information while your memory is still fresh.
Record What You Can Remember
If you have access to a pen and paper, it can be helpful to write down notes of whatever you can remember. What color was the vehicle? Do you know the make and model? What direction was it traveling from, and which direction did it head after hitting you? Could you see the license plate? If so, do you remember any numbers or letters, or what state it was from? Could you see the driver? Was there any visible physical damage to the vehicle?
Though you may not have the answers to all (or even any) of these questions, recording your present sense impressions can be helpful later. Another alternative to physically writing down what happened is to use your cell phone to record yourself giving a verbal rundown of the accident.
Photograph the Scene
Along with a narrative statement and any police report that may be generated, it can be helpful to get photos of the scene, your vehicle, and any physical injuries as quickly as you can after the accident. Don’t be afraid of being redundant—it’s always better to have more pictures than you think you’ll need, and any extras can be quickly deleted.
Get Witnesses’ Information
If any witnesses stopped to help, don’t let them leave without getting their contact information—at the very least, a name and phone number. Whether you later sue the
hit-and-run driver or try to settle the matter with your insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage, having witness testimony can be a major boost to your case. Witnesses are often able to capture information that the victim driver can’t, like the fleeing driver’s license plate number or the vehicle’s make, model, and approximate year.
Get Legal Advice
If the hit-and-run driver is located, his or her insurance company may offer a settlement. And even if the driver can’t be located, your own uninsured motorist coverage should help compensate you for your injuries and property damage. However, all insurance companies have one overarching goal: to settle claims for as little as possible. Before accepting a settlement offer, it’s important to consult an attorney so that your settlement can be negotiated by someone with your best interests at heart.
If you’ve recently been involved in a hit and run accident and are wondering about your next steps, look no further than Gallagher & Hagopian, your Bradenton injury lawyer. Visit our website today to learn more about our services or to get in touch with one of our experienced attorneys.