Hit-and-run car accidents are pretty common worldwide. And there are several reasons why a responsible driver would decide to flee the scene, even if the driver was not actually responsible for the collision. More often than not, a driver that leaves the scene of an accident does not have a license, the vehicle is not roadworthy, or they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Because all these instances deem the driver responsible for the collision regardless of any other details, these kinds of drivers usually think fleeing the scene is the easiest way out. However, abandoning the scene of an accident is a criminal offense, and the driver will likely receive a hefty fine or, in some cases, a jail sentence when identified.
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In some cases, after a collision, responsible drivers will step out of their vehicle to swap information. In more severe cases, responsible drivers await the arrival of medical emergency services and even contact the authorities to ensure everyone involved in the car accident is taken care of. However, there are numerous instances when responsible drivers flee the accident scene, whether in a minor or severe accident. In these cases, you may immediately be left wondering how you will recover your damages as the incident victim. So, here are the vital steps that you should take after a hit-and-run car accident to ensure you can recover your damages.
Make An Attempt To Identify The Driver
Suppose the accident was not severe, and you can reach for your smartphone. In this case, you should try to take a photograph of the responsible drivers’ vehicle. You can later zoom in on the license plate, which will assist authorities in locating the driver. Alternatively, you should write down any information about the driver and the vehicle as soon as you can. This information can be the car model, any digits of the license plate you recall, and a character description of the driver.
You will also have the option to consult the local shops or homeowners near the accident scene to request any camera footage that may be available. In addition, you could also consider collecting information from pedestrians and other drivers that witnessed the incident. Any evidence you have about the responsible driver will strengthen your case when making a personal injury claim. An expert injury lawyer, such as Lamber Goodnow injury lawyers, will be able to use any information you have gathered about the responsible driver to compile a strong case on your behalf.
Collect Evidence At The Scene And Contact The Authorities
The responsible driver has fled the scene, leaving you in a dented or even totaled car, wondering what to do next. Even if you could not identify the driver, you should still photograph the accident scene, including images of your vehicle damages and any injuries you sustained to compile your case. You will need these images to claim from an insurer, even if you are forced to claim from your own insurance company.
It is also vital to contact the authorities immediately to investigate the accident scene. You should avoid moving your vehicle unless it is blocking oncoming traffic. You must obtain a police report to prove that you were involved in a hit-and-run, as your insurer will need this evidence when you make a claim. Be sure to mention as much as possible to the authorities when they arrive at the accident scene to ensure the report is as accurate as possible.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Even if you don’t believe you sustained any injuries during the collision, as you assume the collision was somewhat minor, you should still go to the emergency room at the hospital for an immediate checkup. You could have sustained hidden injuries, such as internal bleeding, whiplash, or even underlying head injuries, which can sometimes be serious and, in some cases, fatal when left untreated.
You will be able to recover your medical bills from your insurer, even if you did not sustain any injuries. It is highly recommended to opt for immediate medical attention as a precaution instead of waiting for hidden injuries to spiral out of control. Your injury lawyer will know how to include this damage in your claim if you did not sustain any injuries.
Hire An Injury Lawyer To Handle Your Case
Instead of assuming your insurance company will cover your damages, as you do pay your premiums as a good client, insurers will always try to settle for less or reject the claim altogether. Unfortunately, it is never the best idea to handle a hit-and-run accident claim on your own, as you may not be able to recover all your damages and receive fair treatment during the process.
On the other hand, a professional injury lawyer will handle all the details of the case for you, ensuring your claim will not be rejected and that you will receive maximum compensation to cover your damages. You might even manage to claim from an auto insurance policy and a disability insurance policy, and perhaps you are entitled to third-party claims. There are many instances where auto insurance is not the only cover you have available to recover damages, as you could be driving for a work-related duty. In this case, you can claim from your employers’ workers’ comp policy.
Mistakes To Avoid In A Hit-And-Run Accident
Several common mistakes can put your compensation claim in jeopardy; even though you are not responsible for the accident, leaving the scene without first contacting the authorities will likely cause your insurance claim to be rejected. You won’t be able to file a police report later either, which means you will have no evidence that the hit-and-run accident occurred. In addition, you should never admit fault for the accident, as the driver that fled the scene has admitted guilt simply by leaving the scene of the collision, which is highly illegal. In addition, you should never neglect to contact the authorities and collecting your own evidence at the scene. These mistakes can leave you unable to recover your damages even if multiple insurance policies cover you.