For a victim or witness of a hit-and-run, the moments immediately following an accident can be emotional, confusing, and even life threatening. Knowing what steps to take can help protect your rights and assist police in apprehending the offending motorist.
Step 1: Look for other possible witnesses and exchange information with them. The more information you can get the better. It increases the chances that the police will catch the driver who hit you. Witness information can also assist your auto insurance company in making the decisions about your claim.
Step 2: Take Pictures. That old proverb that a picture is worth a 1,000 words also applies to a hit-and-run. After an accident, your nerves will be frazzled and witnesses may offer conflicting accounts. Snap photos of the accident scene and your vehicle, if damaged. Whats more, your insurance company may be able to use these photos in processing your claim.
Step 3: Call the police. Some victims want to chase after a fleeing driver, but this can be dangerous, so the best bet is to call the police. Once they arrive on scene, you can file an accident report that should also include the names and contact information for any witnesses. Even if police dont catch the other driver, this report is an official document that you can later rely upon.
Step 4: Dont leave the scene! For drivers, leaving the scene of a hit-and-run can result in a fine, loss of license, or even jail time. But witnesses and passengers are free to leave the scene if they want without fear of legal punishment, so if youre a hit-and-run victim, you want to quickly round up as many witnesses as possible to help police nab the driver and prepare your accident report.
Step 5: Do your best to collect information quickly. If possible, note the license plate number and description of the fleeing car, as well as the direction of travel, to help police apprehend the driver. Using the voice memo app on your smartphone is a quick way to capture this information for later use.
The aftermath of an accident can be a difficult and stressful time. If you or a loved one were the victim of a hit-and-run driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, physical and emotional suffering, funeral expenses (in cases of wrongful death), and other damages. A knowledgeable hit-and-run attorney can help you navigate through this confusing and often emotional process to get the justice you and your family deserve.