Even though a hit and run is a serious offense in most jurisdictions, thousands of these crimes take place every month. According to one study funded by the American Automobile Association, hit and run fatalities have increased by an average ofa year. Following a hit and run, it is important that survivors follow these few steps to protect their health and finances.
Collect as Much Information as Possible
As long as you aren’t seriously injured, you should immediately write down everything that you can remember. Once your adrenaline wears off, some of the most important details may become fuzzy. At the very least, you need to write down the make, model, and color of the other vehicle. If possible, you should also write down their license plate number. That information is going to be invaluable to the police in the coming days.
Stay at the Scene and Call the Police
Unless you need to go to the hospital, you should call the police and wait at the scene. Once a law enforcement officer arrives, you must be as honest as possible and tell them exactly what took place. The police report will be used by your insurance company or legal representative depending on how the situation unfolds. While giving your statement, you can also take a few pictures of your car and the surrounding area. You should only leave the scene once the officer has verified that your vehicle is safe to drive.
Call Your Insurance Provider
You most likely only have a few days to contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident. As a general rule, you should try to call them immediately following a collision. When speaking with an insurance representative, you must only give them the basic facts. The claim might be rejected if you admit guilt or misinform them. Your insurance should cover some or all of the expenses if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Contact an Attorney
A hit and run accident can quickly escalate into a major legal battle, and you will need an experiencedby your side. Your legal representative can help you file the proper paperwork with the DMV and build a case if the other driver is found. They can also negotiate with your insurance provider if the suspect isn’t found. Most insurance providers try to pay out as little as possible following a hit and run accident.
After an auto accident, your health should be your primary concern. If you believe that you might be injured, then you must immediately head to the hospital for a medical exam.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.