It’s a scenario nobody ever wants to imagine themselves in: you’re driving and minding your own business, only to be hit by another driver. Just as you emerge from your vehicle to exchange insurance information, the driver flees the scene! Even if you don’t anticipate becoming a hit-and-run victim, it’s important to know the proper steps to take in such an event.
Record as Much Information as Possible
Try to keep as calm as possible and focus on the information available to you. As you witness the vehicle leaving the scene, try to gather as many details as you can about the driver and the car itself if you are in a safe place to do so. If possible, write down the license plate number (even a partial plate number can help), a description of the vehicle and its damage, as well as any details you can discern about the driver. Also, if it’s safe to do so, be sure to get photos or videos of any damage to your car and the location where the accident took place.
Talk to Witnesses and Ask for Statements
If anybody witnessed the accident, don’t hesitate to ask them for help. Often, accident witnesses will pull over in an effort to assist. Ask witnesses if they would be willing to provide a statement or if they have any additional information that you may have missed. If they can’t stick around to talk to police, see if they’ll give you their contact information so they can be reached for a statement later on.
Don’t Run the Risk of Following the Driver
Whatever you do, never follow the driver who hit you. This can be dangerous, especially since you don’t know the driver’s reason for fleeing (he or she could be a violent criminal or a wanted fugitive).
Know that You Have Options
A lot of people mistakenly assume that because they were involved in a hit-and-run accident that there are no insurance options available to them. What many people do not know is that Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage can act as a protection for you in this event of a hit and run. Be sure to contact an attorney to help you navigate this process.
Call the Police and Obtain a Formal Report
Be sure to contact your local police department to report the hit-and-run. Depending on your injuries, the safety of your location, and your safety to do so, it may be wise to move your vehicle out of traffic. Once an officer comes to collect the details of the accident, you will be able to obtain a formal report (which you’ll need for insurance purposes) by contacting the department within a couple of days.
Get Legal Help With Your Claim
Finally, be sure to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible—even if you have hope that the police will find the driver responsible for your accident. By working with a dedicated accident lawyer throughout the process, you can rest assured that your rights and best interests will be protected every step of the way.