Despite people’s best attempts to be prepared for everything, there will always be situations that we have no control over. One of the more common situations is a hit and run accident.
Can I recover Damages if I’m hit by driver who leaves the scene?
This is an important question if you’ve been injured by a hit and run driver, can I collect damages in this type of accident? The attorneys at Reyes Law offer some advice. Being involved in any accident can be very traumatizing – no matter how big or small the accident is.
If You Are A Victim In A Hit And Run Accident, What Are Your Next Steps?
In the event that you become a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may find asking yourself ‘What do I next?’ here are 5 tips to keep in mind after the accident occurs:
Check If You Are Okay
The first thing you should do is to check yourself for any injuries. Seek medical assistance immediately if you experienced any head injuries. In any accident you are involved in, while it can be nerve-racking, try to remain calm – though that’s easier said than done.
One of the primary reasons to keep a clear head after a hit-and-run accident is that you will need to contact the police, contact your car insurance agent, and more than likely you will need to get in touch with an accident lawyer. The sooner these tasks have been done, the better – details of the accident are most fresh minutes and even hours (within reason) after the fact.
Obtain the License Plate Number of the offender
If you can, quickly write down the person’s license plate number before he or she leaves the scene. If you do not have a pen nearby, a quick photo taken with your smartphone is the best alternative to collect this information. This will make locating them easier for the police.
But what if the hit-and-run offender(s) has fled the scene of the accident?
Laws regarding this situation varies by state. Generally speaking, if the guilty party continued to drive on and not remain at the scene, that person (or persons) may face charges that can range from a monetary fine to being faced with criminal charges that sentence the offender(s) in prison for at least a year.
In the event that the injuries are severe enough, the charges may escalate to a felony/criminal charges. The guility party will face several years in prison or even a life sentence. In the event of this situation, it is extremely important that the police are contacted and involved in the investigation as soon as possible – which brings us to step 3.
Contact The Authorities
Inform the proper authorities immediately following the accident. Describe the accident clearly to the police. Make sure you provide the details of the accident as soon as they arrive. Again, do not try to chase down the other driver – even if you don’t think you are injured. The police will handle this as long as you can remember the details and description of the vehicle that fled the scene.
It is important to remember to provide the police with the following information:
- The make and model of the other vehicle or vehicles
- The license plate number of the vehicle
- Inform the police officer(s) of any witnesses to the incident
- The time and spot when and where the accident happened
- Provide images taken of the offending vehicle following the hit-and-run accident (if available).
- A complete doctor’s and/or emergency responder’s report about any injuries you experienced as a result of the hit-and-run.
Since you will need to make a claim, evidence will be required to show that you were not at fault. One would assume that the very act of fleeing the scene of the accident by the irresponsible driver is an admission of guilt, unfortunately that is not always the case. If any witnesses saw what happened, take down their names and contact details (in case you need them to testify what they witnessed).
Contact Your Lawyer
It is strongly advisable to contact your personal injury lawyer immediately following the accident.
What to Expect From Your Lawyer
If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, chances are you may not know who hit you. Your lawyer can help secure your rights in a hit-and-run accident, even with your insurance agency.
Your attorney may insist that you not give a statement of record, or sign any paperwork until the two of you have spoken. As an unfortunate reminder, your insurance company is not always in your corner. They will want to save as much money as possible by not covering your costs.
If the accident is deemed severe enough, contact your injury attorney as soon as possible. The sooner your attorney can get the paperwork and review the evidence, the faster your lawyer can start building your case. Being a victim of a hit-and-run accident won’t always end in total misfortune if an experienced personal injury lawyer can represent you. It could be the best thing for your case and your complete recovery.