What to do after a hit-and-run car accident?
Hit-and-run accidents are frustrating, to say the least. Whether you’re a cyclist, pedestrian, parked car, or another driver, you run the risk of being struck by someone who instantly leaves the scene. When you are struck by another vehicle, and notice that they are driving off rather than pulling over and doing the right thing, it can certainly make you angry. The same is true when you walk out to your parked car to find that it has been struck and damaged, with no sign or record of who did it and how they can make amends.
It’s incredibly important for your safety, well-being, and the eventual outcome of your case to follow certain steps after you have been in a hit-and-run accident. With the help of a skilled hit-and-run accident attorney, you can still recover the damages you’re entitled to and get justice for your accident. The attorneys at Combs Law Group recommend that all their client do the following after a hit-and-run accident.
What you should do after a hit-and-run:
- 1. Get to safety. Your first priority is to protect yourself, passengers, and other motorists on the road from further harm. A hit-and-run accident is no different from any other type of auto accident in this regard. Pull over out of the way of traffic, if possible, or into a parking lot or other safe place.
- 2. Call the police. If anyone is injured, call 911 as soon as possible. If there do not seem to be any injuries, you should still call the police to ensure that an accident report is filed right away. This will help you and your case immensely later on.
- 3. Record and gather information. When a driver strikes you and flees the scene it can often be very challenging to gather the evidence you can usually easily obtain in a car accident. Still, it’s helpful to write down any information you are able to remember. If possible, record the:
- License plate number
- Make and model of the car
- Color of the car
- Year of the car (approximately–knowing if it was a later model can be enough)
- Time and location of the accident
- Direction the driver was traveling
- Description of the scene and your vehicle
Even incomplete data, like only part of a license plate number or a rough idea of the make and model of car, is useful when documenting a hit-and-run accident.
- 4. Take photos. Use your camera phone to show the conditions during the accident and the damage your vehicle took. Having quality pictures are important to your case. Take pictures of all areas where your vehicle has been damaged, the road, skid marks, debris, and anything else that might be relevant to the collision.
- 5. Talk to witnesses. Look for any potential witnesses who can supply any information about the driver and the events of the accident. Write down the contact information of all available witnesses and note the information they supply. Even better, if you are able to do so, get an audio or video recording of their account to reference later. In a hit-and-run accident that happens when you aren’t in your car, or you aren’t able to witness it yourself, witness accounts are significant and often your best chance in winning your case.
- 6. Talk to a lawyer. After any car accident that results in serious injuries, death, or significant property damage, you should always have a lawyer to help file your case and deal with the aftermath. A hit-and-run lawyer who has experience dealing with these types of cases will be able to calculate the value of your case, stand up to the insurance companies, and, in the case of a hit-and-run accident, help you get compensation for your injuries and suffering.
- 7. Talk to your insurance company. Inform your agent about the accident. The type of coverage you can receive in the case of your hit-and-run accident depends on the level of insurance coverage you have. By talking to your agent, you can find out what is covered by your own insurance so that you can get the medical treatment and vehicle repairs or replacement as soon as possible.
- 8. Receive medical care. If you were seriously injured, you need to see a doctor or specialist to help in your recovery, ensure your injuries don’t get worse, and to alleviate your pain and discomfort. However, even if you do not think you were badly hurt at the time of your accident, you should still see a doctor right away. Usually, visiting an urgent care center is a good idea after an accident, unless you are more seriously hurt–in that case, you should go straight to an emergency room or trauma center. If you get a medical evaluation, you could learn about injuries you didn’t notice or think were serious enough to warrant treatment. In addition, if you have what you believe to be a minor injury or an injury you think can’t be treated, like a concussion or cracked ribs, having medical evidence and treatment records will significantly strengthen your case.
What Not To Do After A Hit-And-Run Accident
If there are a number of things victims of a hit-and-run accident should do, there is one important thing you should not do: do not, under any circumstances, attempt to follow or chase the driver that hit you. If you are at the scene at the time of the accident, it can be very tempting to try to tail the culprit to get their information and hold them accountable for their actions. This is a poor idea for many reasons, including that:
- it is dangerous. Not only can it make you likely to make riskier driving decisions, but you could risk putting yourself in harm’s way if you do track them down. You can’t control or predict what the hit-and-run driver will do. They could be armed or wanting to physically confront you, for instance. They already made a poor and risky decision by leaving the scene in the first place–it’s highly likely they would follow that up with another poor decision.
- it puts you in a compromising position. Chasing after them means you would be leaving the scene of an accident, which is the crime a hit-and-run driver themselves is committing. You can get in trouble for this alone. And if you leave and police arrive, they may question what happened and be suspicious of why you left.
- you miss the opportunity to talk to witnesses, take pictures of the scene, and get other important information.
- especially if you aren’t present when the collision takes place, your chances of finding them are low. Trying to find the culprit is not worth the time or effort.
St. Louis Hit-and-Run Lawyer | Combs Law Group
No one ever deserves to be harmed by the actions of another driver, especially in a hit-and-run accident where you may believe the other person will be getting off scot-free. However, by following the right steps after a hit-and-run, you can still recover the damages you are owed. In some cases, the driver can be found. But even if they are not able to determine who struck you or your vehicle and caused you harm, you do have legal options. To understand your options, such as uninsured or underinsured driver coverage and other potential solutions, you need a lawyer who is familiar with your type of case. The experienced car accident lawyers at Combs Law Group will listen to your case, develop a legal strategy, and work to get you the compensation you are entitled to receive. Contact us online or call (314) 900-HELP today to discuss your St. Louis hit-and-run case.