How to Handle a Hit-and-Run Accident

Experiencing a car accident is undoubtedly stressful. When the other driver flees the scene, leaving you to handle the aftermath alone, it can be even more unsettling. However, by staying calm and following these steps, you can improve your chances of getting assistance and holding the at-fault driver responsible.

Stay Calm and Ensure Safety

The first priority after any accident is ensuring the safety of yourself and everyone involved. Here are some steps to take:

Check for Injuries: Take a moment to assess yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. Even seemingly minor injuries can worsen over time, so it’s crucial to seek medical attention.

Move Your Car to Safety: If your vehicle is still drivable and it’s safe to do so, move it to the side of the road or a nearby parking lot away from traffic. This will help prevent further accidents and allow you to gather information about the accident scene.

Call 911: Even if there are no immediate injuries, contacting the police is essential. They will create a police report, which is crucial for your insurance claim. Additionally, the police may be able to search the area for witnesses and collect evidence that can help identify the hit-and-run driver.

Gather Information

While waiting for the police to arrive, gather as much information as possible about the accident. Here’s what to look for:

Description of the Hit-and-Run Vehicle: Try to recall details about the vehicle that hit you, such as the make, model, color, and license plate number if possible. Look for any unique markings on the car, like dents, bumper stickers, or unusual features. These details can be crucial in helping the police track down the driver.

Description of the Driver: If you were able to see the driver, try to remember their physical characteristics, like hair color, approximate age, and clothing.

Location of the Accident: Note the exact location of the accident, including the street address, nearest intersection, or any landmarks.

Details of Any Witnesses: If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their names and contact information. Their statements can be valuable in corroborating your story and providing additional details about the accident.

Take Pictures: Use your phone or camera to take pictures of the damage to your car, the scene of the accident, and any debris left behind by the hit-and-run vehicle. Be careful not to move any debris that could be considered evidence.

Cooperate with the Police

When the police show up, make sure to tell them exactly what happened in the accident. Share all the details you can recall about what happened before the crash. It’s important to be honest and answer their questions as well as you can.

They might ask to see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. They could also want you to do some tests to check if you’re okay to drive, especially if they think you might have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

File an Insurance Claim

As soon as you can after the accident, get in touch with your insurance company. Let them know about the hit-and-run and give them all the details you collected, like the police report, any photos you took, and info from witnesses.

Even if it’s a hit-and-run, your insurance might still help cover the damage to your car. What exactly they’ll cover depends on your policy. Make sure you understand what your policy includes and any costs you might have to pay yourself.

Here are a few more things to remember after a hit-and-run:

Don’t Try to Chase Them: Your safety and others’ safety come first. Trying to chase down the driver who fled could lead to more accidents. Let the police handle it.

Keep Copies of Everything: Make copies of the police report, your insurance paperwork, and any other documents about the accident. Keep them safe for your records.

Think about Talking to a Lawyer: If the accident was serious and you were hurt, it might be a good idea to talk to an auto accident lawyer who knows about personal injury cases. They can help you understand your rights and how to get compensation for what happened. Injured in New York? Call a New York personal injury lawyer from Cellino Law.

Hit-and-run accidents are a big deal, but if you follow these steps and stay calm, you can improve your chances of getting the support you need and making sure the driver who caused it is held responsible. Just keep in mind that your safety and how you’re feeling are what matter most. If you need it, don’t wait to get medical help, talk to a lawyer, or get support for how you’re feeling after a hit-and-run accident.