Getting into a car accident can throw your life into turmoil. In some instances, the driver for the accident flees the scene before you can identify the car or driver, which can make things even worse. The reasons some drivers “hit and run” run the gamut from a lack of insurance to driving under the influence.
What should you do if you’ve been struck by a hit and run driver? We suggest that you follow these tips:
Don’t Chase the Hit and Run Driver
Your first inclination when you realize that the driver of the other vehicle is fleeing the scene may be to give chase. Please do not do this. If he or she fled out of desperation, an altercation with that person could turn violent, thereby making a bad situation much worse. Also, engaging in “hot pursuit” without the training that law enforcement professionals receive puts yourself and others in a high risk for danger.
Make Note of the Vehicle’s Appearance, If Possible
Instead of attempting to hunt down the driver and chasing them, try to take note of the vehicle’s appearance in as many details as possible. The first two things you’ll probably notice is the overall type of vehicle, such as a car, truck, van, or SUV, in addition to its color. If you can also identify the make or model, that’s great. After that, any discerning features such as bumper stickers, or if you are lucky enough to get it – a license plate number, will also help.
Ensure the Safety of Passengers
Once your vehicle has come to a complete stop and you’ve gathered yourself, check on the well-being of everyone else in the car. If it was a bad accident, it may be advisable that no one move around too much until help arrives. You should pay special attention to any children who were in the car since they could either be hurt or frightened. If you or your passengers are injured, call 911 and ask for medical assistance.
Call the Police Immediately
There’s a very good chance, especially if the accident was a bad one, that someone who witnessed it or was present immediately afterward will call the police right after the accident has occurred. If this has not happened, or if the accident took place with no one else around, you want to report it immediately. And be sure to let them know that the other driver fled and provide them with a description of the vehicle, if possible.
Gather Evidence and Witnesses
If you’re able to gather evidence following an accident, do it. Sometimes identifying pieces of the offending vehicle can be found at the scene. This is also the time to check for witnesses who may be willing to give a statement on your behalf. Gather their contact information and let them know that you’ll be reaching out to them at a later date.
Look for Surveillance Cameras
If the accident took place at a busy intersection or near a business, it’s possible that video footage of the incident may exist. This may help identify the hit and run driver in addition to providing proof of who was at fault. If the accident happened near a commercial or retail area, sometimes a business owner with surveillance cameras may be will be willing to help you by providing their video footage of the incident, but enlisting the help of an attorney to obtain the footage may be necessary.
Contact an Attorney
The sooner you get the right people involved, the better off you’ll be. An attorney can begin preparing your case to make sure that any claims you have are preserved and to help ensure that you get a fair result out of any legal action. Hit and run accidents make an already traumatic incident even more complicated, so be sure to contact an attorney even if the authorities don’t expect to find the hit and run driver.
Any accident involving injury is likely to necessitate the assistance of a seasoned attorney. Mintz Law Firm can help you make the best out of a bad situation. Give us a call immediately following an accident and we’ll provide you with a free case evaluation.