Posted in Accident Data on September 4, 2023
There were about 737,100 hit and run crashes in 2015. A hit and run accident happens when the driver responsible for the collision flees the scene. Whether they hit another vehicle or a pedestrian, they fail to provide information or aid.
Hit-and-run accidents are illegal because drivers must remain at the scene. They should exchange contact and insurance details and offer help. Failure to fulfill these obligations can result in serious consequences for the driver.
Do you know what to do in a hit and run? Although no one wants to pursue a car accident lawsuit, knowing what to do in this scenario can help you win one. When you follow the proper course of action, you’ll help your auto accident lawsuit attorney get you fair compensation.
If you like to be prepared, keep reading as we share what to do in the event of a hit and run incident!
1. Stay Calm and Safe
In the event of a hit and run accident, it’s vital to remain composed and prioritize safety. Take deep breaths to stay calm.
If your vehicle is operational, move it to a safe spot away from traffic. Turn on hazard lights to alert others.
If you’re on foot, find a secure location on the sidewalk or shoulder. Avoid sudden movements, and assess yourself for injuries.
Staying calm enhances your ability to make clear decisions. It also helps you communicate effectively with authorities and any necessary professionals. Your safety and well-being come first in these situations.
2. Gather Information
Collecting information after an accident is crucial. Note the fleeing vehicle’s details, like:
- License plate
Observe the accident location and time. Take note of damages and surroundings.
Jot down any details you remember about the incident. This information is vital for insurance claims and potential legal actions. The more accurate and comprehensive your data, the stronger your position.
3. Contact the Authorities
Immediately contact local authorities after a hit and run accident by calling 911. Provide precise details, including:
- Your location
- A description of your vehicle
- Any available information about the fleeing vehicle
Share information about injuries and any visible damage. A police report is essential for insurance claims and legal actions.
By involving the authorities, you start the official documentation process. This increases the chances of holding the responsible party accountable.
4. Document the Scene
Documenting the scene of the accident is critical. Use your phone to capture clear photos of:
- Your vehicle’s damage
- The surrounding area
- Visible injuries
Take wide-angle and close-up shots to provide context. Note road conditions, weather, and nearby landmarks. If there are skid marks or debris, photograph those as well.
These images serve as valuable evidence for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. Comprehensive documentation enhances your ability to reconstruct the events accurately. It also supports your case in addressing the hit and run incident effectively.
5. Look for Witnesses
Search for witnesses at the accident scene. Approach pedestrians, nearby motorists, or anyone in the vicinity.
Politely ask if they witnessed the incident. If so, ask if they’re willing to provide their contact information. If possible, record their statements about what they saw.
Witnesses can provide unbiased accounts that corroborate your version of events. This bolsters your case when dealing with insurance claims or potential legal actions.
6. Notify Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Inform them about the incident and provide accurate details. Share any information you gathered, like the fleeing vehicle’s description.
This step initiates the claims process. It also helps assess the coverage available for repairs and medical expenses.
Your insurer might guide you on the next steps. For example, they may suggest involving law enforcement or seeking legal advice.
7. Seek Medical Attention
Seek immediate medical attention following a hit and run accident.
Even if injuries appear minor, some issues might not be obvious right away. Adrenaline can mask pain. Get examined by a medical professional to ensure your well-being.
Document injuries and treatments. This documentation could be crucial for insurance claims or potential legal actions.
8. Consult Legal Professionals
Consider consulting a car accident lawyer or auto accident attorney after a hit and run. They can advise you on whether you should file a car accident lawsuit. Legal professionals can also:
- Help protect your rights
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Ensure you receive fair compensation for damages and injuries
Many accident attorneys offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out for advice. Additionally, you may have a claim for uninsured motorist coverage, which does not negatively affect your premiums in any way.
9. Preserve Evidence for the Auto Accident Lawsuit
Keep all evidence related to the vehicle accident. This includes medical records, police reports, and correspondence with your insurance company. This documentation can strengthen your case if you decide to pursue legal action.
10. Understand Car Accident Lawsuit Time Limitations
Recognize the significance of time limitations after a hit and run accident. Laws regarding filing car accident lawsuits have specific statutes of limitations. These limitations vary by jurisdiction and could range from several months to years.
Failing to start legal action within the stipulated time would be like forfeiting your right to compensation. It’s crucial to be aware of these time constraints.
Consulting a car accident lawyer or auto accident attorney can help you understand the applicable limitations. They’ll also ensure you take timely steps to address the hit and run incident effectively.
11. Explore Settlement Options
Contact the responsible party or their insurance company to discuss compensatory agreements without legal action. Be sure to consult legal professionals before making decisions. They can help you ensure your rights are protected and the settlement adequately addresses damages and injuries sustained in the hit and run incident.
Now You Know What to Do in a Hit and Run
Accidents are stressful and scary, especially when a driver flees the scene. But knowing what to do in a hit and run can help you stay calm and ensure you take the right steps. This knowledge can pay off when it comes time to seek compensation, especially if you file a car accident lawsuit.
If you’re ready to start the auto accident lawsuit process, contact Heenan & Cook! Located in Billings, Bozeman and Kalispell, we are recognized as some of the best car accident lawyers in Montana. Trust us to handle your case and get you the compensation you deserve!