A hit & run can be defined as when a person involved in an accident leaves or escapes the accident scene. The reasons for such behavior vary. Most of the time, the liable driver is not insured or has existing court cases. Sometimes, drivers get shocked by their reckless driving and leave the accident scene due to increased stress and anxiety.
Hit & run accidents are steadily increasing on American highways. At Flagler Personal Injury Group, many clients are victims of hit & run accidents, causing serious injuries that inhibit their mobility and affect their daily activities. Even if the accident doesn’t involve any physical injury (only limited to car and third property damage), it may cause severe trauma and shock to the driver and passengers.
Calling A Lawyer To Help You With Your Hit & Run Accident
After a hit & run accident, you may experience shock and trauma, but calling your lawyer soon after is highly recommended. It’s often difficult for someone to think of this step as they are still perplexed and emotional following the accident.
Taking legal action against the fleeing driver is not an easy task. It may require filing a lawsuit against them, talking to their insurance firm, and collecting evidence. Moreover, most insurance companies deny issuing compensation for such accidents unless the liable driver has been found. That’s why you need to find a professional and experienced lawyer who can present a handful of evidence to the insurance companies like medical bills and auto repair invoices to force them to take action.
The Best Steps To Take After A Hit & Run Accident?
You can still receive compensation even if the hit & run driver fled from the accident scene. As we have mentioned, people involved in such an accident should first contact their lawyers and let them file all the necessary paperwork right after the accident and while you are still on the scene. After that, you need to take the following steps to protect yourself.
Contact the Law Enforcement Officers
After the initial crash, the first thing you should do is to call your lawyer and law enforcement. Paramedics and rescuers’ prime concern is to help drivers and passengers escape the damaged cars and save their lives. Human life is irreplaceable, and emergency services are essential in such situations.
Police officers coming to the scene may also secure the site, cut off traffic, and even remove debris from the road. Law enforcement officers could also ask witnesses about what happened while taking statements and adding them to the police report.
Take Pictures of The Plates Numbers
If you have the chance, you need to take pictures or videos of the accident scene, including the other vehicles involved. Even a simple image of the plates combined with the type and color of the car could help the Police identify the driver. When the plates are not easily seen or are non-existent, the VIN of the vehicle shown on the windscreen is another asset you could use to identify the driver. If you managed to take the other driver’s picture, it could be a valuable piece of evidence on your behalf.
Talk to The Witnesses And Take Their Personal Details
It’s also necessary to write down the witnesses’ contact details. Your lawyer may communicate with them later and ask them to testify or create a testimony. That offers valuable information about the actual conditions of the hit & run accident. Witnesses are often unemotional and unbiased on the details of the accident and may help the case by revealing evidence you may ignore. You could use that evidence to support your claim.
Take As Many Pictures You Can From The Accident Scene
The more pictures you take from the surrounding area -including your car- the better for your defense. You may also note the details of the accident when they are fresh in your memory, as the police often rely on your first statement when the details are still fresh in your mind. These details should become available to police officers to reinforce your position. Finding the liable driver is easier when you provide officers with facts and information from the scene.
Insurance Claims Help You Get Compensated
Even if the Police fails to identify the liable driver, you may still receive compensation through a fully documented case. The most important thing is to file a claim to your insurance company and follow all the steps your lawyer will advise you.
Hit & run accidents become more and more frequent as some drivers fail to pay for car insurance. Luckily there are measures in place to catch such drivers. All the same, you need to hire a competent lawyer to help you through this tricky situation.