A victim of a hit-and-run collision can be left with a lot of questions. Can I find the driver who hit me? Is there a way that I recover for my injuries if I can’t find him? Should I call the police? Should I hire a lawyer? This article will hopefully answer a lot of those questions for you. Here are the six steps that you should follow if you are involved in a hit-and-run collision:
- Evaluate Your Health and Safety
- Document Everything
- Call the Police
- Collect Debris
- Notify Your Insurance Company
- Contact an Attorney
Step 1: Evaluate Your Health and Safety
Your health and safety should always be your number one priority. Even low-speed impacts generate tremendous forces that are capable of causing severe injury. Take a second to ensure that you are not severely injured. If you have any doubts, call for help and remain still. Nothing is more important than your health. Also take a moment to evaluate your surroundings. If remaining where you are poses an immediate risk to your safety, move elsewhere.
Step 2: Document Everything
The stress of an accident can wreak havoc on your memory, which is why it is important for you to write everything down. Write down any information that you can recall or gather from what happened. For example, the color, make, model and license plate (even partial) of the vehicle that hit you, what road you were on, which direction you were traveling, nearby businesses, etc. If safe to do so, take pictures or videos of the scene on your cell phone. If anyone saw the accident, be sure to write down their name and number.
Step 3: Call the Police
Many victims of hit-and-run collisions feel it is futile to call the police as the other driver is (obviously) no longer at the scene. HOWEVER, a police report can make or break a hit and run case. Many insurance policies do not permit victims to recover under their own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage if there is no police report. Moreover, the police often canvas the area for evidence such as surveillance video, debris and potential witnesses.
Step 4: Collect Debris
Many components of a car have the vehicle identification number (VIN number) etched into them. Based on this VIN number we may be able to locate the owner of the vehicle and their insurance policy. This may be your best chance of finding and making a claim against the vehicle that hit you.
Step 5: Notify Your Insurance Company
Let’s be honest, no one reads their auto insurance policy. However, there are clauses in most policies that require notice of a hit-and-run within 30 days of an accident. Some polices extend this 30 day notice requirement to any accident. Failure to notify your insurance company can result in a denial of your uninsured motorist claim. However, when speaking with the insurance company be wary of the questions they ask. Insurance companies purposely ask misleading or ambiguous questions that are designed to make you seem at fault for the accident so that they may deny your claim. If the facts of the accident leave any room for doubt, it may be best to consult an attorney.
Step 6: Contact an Attorney
The attorneys at Morris Bart have access to a number of resources that allow us find vehicle owners and their insurance policies. Those services combined with decades of experience allow attorneys at Morris Bart to offer you the best chance of getting compensated for the injuries you sustained. If you were hurt in a crash caused by a hit and run driver, turn to Morris Bart. An auto accident lawyer in one of our 15 offices will help you fight for the highest possible settlement. If your case goes to trial, our attorneys have the litigation experience to represent your interests in court. Call 800-537-8185 today to arrange a free consultation.