Any accident is stressful and frustrating, but becoming the victim of a hit and run accident is especially harrowing. On top of the usual issues that would concern you in any accident, there’s an added complication of not being able to identify the driver. These types of accidents are also more common and more serious than most people realize.
Looking at all hit and run accidents over the past decade, researchers have found that nearly 20% of them resulted in pedestrian fatalities. The seriousness of a hit and run accident, as well as understanding this can happen to anyone at any time, is reason enough to learn and understand how to react if you’re involved in a hit and run accident.
Stop and Call for Help
The very first thing you should do is to park your car in a safe area at or near the area and call the police or emergency services if anyone is injured. If you don’t stop, you can also be charged with fleeing the scene of the car accident, especially if the incident resulted in damage to other property as well. Additionally, failing to call the police can adversely affect your insurance claim and you may experience more problems in getting your claim approved.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, it’s important to gather as much evidence as you can find. This means taking photos of damage to your vehicle and any property damages caused in the accident. You should also collect the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident. After taking photos and gathering witness information, try to recall as much as you can about the hit and run accident. If you remember the license plate number, write it down. Otherwise, try to remember any details about the vehicle and driver.
Get Medical Attention
Your next step, after filing a police report, should be to submit to a medical evaluation. This should be done as soon as possible in any type of accident, even if you don’t feel any injuries. It may take time for symptoms of injuries to manifest, especially in traumatic head injuries, spine damage, and neck injuries. Getting a complete medical assessment will help you file a more accurate claim with your insurance company.
File Your Claim
As soon as you’re able, you should file your claim with your insurance company. Depending on your insurance provider and your coverage, you may be able to receive compensation under an uninsured motorist clause. If you do have coverage, you may receive compensation to pay for property damages or to cover physical injuries. Rarely, uninsured motorist coverage is offered for both property damages and bodily injuries, but a review of your policy will tell you exactly what coverages can help you.
In any case, you should take the time to hire an attorney who handles hit and run car accidents. These kinds of cases require special legal expertise, such as those possessed by the professionals at Marcus & Mack. By consulting an attorney, before you accept any claim settlement offer, you can ensure you’ll receive the maximum benefits to which you’re entitled.