Getting into a car accident is going to be a stressful and traumatic event no matter what. What makes it even worse is when the accident is a hit and run. Seeing the person responsible for the accident fleeing can cause a feeling of desperation along with all the other emotions caused by the accident.
Luckily, there are plenty of good car accident lawyers like Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers Phoenix who can help you if you are in a hit and run, but that doesn’t mean that dealing with the accident is going to be a walk in the park. When a driver flees the scene it makes everything more complicated. If they never find the person then you could face having to pay out of your own pocket for some of the damage.
In this article, we will go over several of the things you should do if you are involved in a hit and run so you can get the treatment and compensation that you deserve.
1 – Pay attention to the car
Although the moment of the accident is going to be incredibly stressful and emotions will be running high, try to take a moment to get as much information about the car as possible.
If you can remember the license plate number then this is ideal, but it may be difficult to read as the car will be moving away from you. Even the make, model, and color of the car could be enough for authorities to track the person down. It will be especially helpful if you can also make a note about what the damage to the car is.
The more information the police have about the car, the easier it will be to find it. If you call right away and give the operator as many details as possible about where you are, what direction the car is headed and any identifying features already mentioned. There may be a cruiser in the area and able to hunt the driver down before they get too far from the accident scene.
The longer you wait to call and the less identifying information you provide means that it will be even more difficult to remedy the situation. If the person is never found then your likelihood of resolving the situation in a reasonable time frame and in a straightforward manner is dramatically reduced.
2 – Get to safety
The very next thing to do as soon as you are off the phone with 911 is to make sure that you can get yourself safe. If your car is in traffic or there are cars driving by in close proximity then try to get off to the side where you aren’t at risk of being struck by another car.
If the car is drivable, don’t leave the scene, just try to pull off to an area where it is safer and you aren’t blocking traffic. Get some help from a bystander if the car is not able to start and see about pushing it to safety. When the car is immovable, then you are not going to be able to do so. Make sure that you are standing as far from moving cars as possible while you wait for a tow truck to remove your car if this is the case.
Don’t attempt to sit in the car if you are on a highway or if there is high-speed traffic going past. Get off of the road to where you can stand because your car could easily be hit or sideswiped by another driver making the situation quite dangerous.
3 – Get witnesses
One of the best ways to solidify your case with the police and with your insurance company is to get some testimony from the people that were present at the time of the accident.
Bystanders likely saw the accident happen and can give you a perspective that you may not have even had since they had a better view. Third-person testimony is always valuable since there is no bias involved. They are detached and have no reason to give an incomplete or untrue version of what occurred.
Ask them to wait for a police officer to arrive and get their information. If they can’t wait or would rather not then make sure to get their phone number, or email so you can stay in touch and give it to the insurance company.
Most times they will be contacted by phone and asked to give a deposition that will be recorded and used in court if it makes it that far. There is little risk that they will be inconvenienced by being a witness.
4 – Contact your insurance company
Once the immediate aftermath of the accident is taken care of, it is time to call your insurance company. They will need this information to be able to start your claim. If the person who caused the accident is still not found then this can be a lengthy and complicated process. It is best to get started as soon as possible.
Hopefully, you have a policy that covers being in an accident with an uninsured driver because chances are your insurance company won’t be able to recover the losses from the accident. Usually, when a person flees the scene of an accident it is because they don’t have insurance. Even if they are found then the risk is very high that there won’t be any compensation from their insurance company since there isn’t one.
If you don’t have that type of coverage then unfortunately you should expect your insurance premium to go up when it is time to renew your policy.
Accidents do happen so it is something that you should always be prepared for. It makes sense to get a dashboard camera to make sure that if you are ever in that situation you have the proof you need to catch the driver.