Car accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States, and one of the most troubling types of accidents are hit-and-runs. A hit-and-run is an accident in which one of the drivers involved in the crash, usually the individual that causes the crash, leaves the scene before it appropriate for the driver to leave the scene. In most states, the law requires drivers to report any car accident that results in bodily injury, death, or significant property damage. The penalties for a hit-and-run violation may include fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time.
Rise in Hit-and-Run Accidents
AAA conducted a study that concluded that hit-and-run accidents are at an all-time high in the United States. In 2006, hit-and-run accidents accounted for just over 4% of all traffic fatalities. By 2015, this percentage increased to more than 5%. People who suffer injuries and vehicle damage in hit-and-run accidents face a challenging road to recovery. Depending on the evidence available, it can take a long time to track down the at-fault driver. However, smartphones equipped with video cameras and the increasing prevalence of traffic cameras make it easier for law enforcement to locate hit-and-run drivers.
What to Do in a Hit-and-Run Accident
There is no way to predict how other drivers will behave on the road. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, there are a few things you can do to ensure your safety.
- Stay safe and calm. Directly after a hit-and-run, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and ensure you are not in any additional danger with traffic. As soon as you can safely do so, call the police or have a bystander call the police for you.
- Do not pursue. Do not try to pursue the vehicle that struck you. Your adrenaline will likely be elevated directly after an accident, and getting into a car chase could result in additional injuries to yourself and others.
- Collect details. If you are able to do so safely, document any details about the car you remember. If there are witnesses nearby, ask them to stay. Witnesses can provide additional details about the accident and give a statement to the police.
- Get educated beforehand. You can download our Auto Accident Victim’s Guide and review the steps you should take directly after an accident, including proper documentation and when you should contact an attorney. We recommend printing the guide and keeping it in your glove box for easy reference.
- Consider technology. Many motorists invest in quality dashboard camera systems to help provide documentation of accidents like hit-and-runs.
The attorneys at Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A., have extensive experience with all types of car accident claims, including hit-and-runs. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, the team at Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A., can help. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.