Being in an accident is stressful enough, but being in a hit-and-run can be even worse. It is important to know what steps to take in such a situation to protect yourself. This article will guide you through what to do if you find yourself in a hit-and-run accident.
What Is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Any accident, regardless of how minor, should be taken seriously. A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver involved in an accident leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or to assist the other party/ies. It is considered a serious offense and is illegal in every state.
Examples of a Hit-and-Run Accident
Hit-and-run accidents can take various forms. Some common examples include:
- A driver rear-ends another vehicle and drives away without stopping.
- A driver sideswipes a parked car and leaves the scene without leaving a note.
- A driver hits a pedestrian or cyclist and fails to provide help.
These are just a few examples, but hit-and-run accidents can occur in any situation where a driver flees the scene without taking responsibility.
Why Does a Hit-and-Run Accident Occur?
There are several reasons why hit-and-run accidents occur. Common causes include:
Drunk Driving: A driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs flees the scene to avoid getting caught.
Uninsured Driving: If a driver does not have insurance, they may flee the scene to evade legal consequences.
Driving Without a Valid License: Similar to uninsured driving, a driver without a valid license may flee the scene to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
Driver Panics: In some cases, the driver may panic and make the wrong decision to leave the accident scene, fearing the consequences.
Distracted driving can also lead to an accident.
What Should You Do if You Are in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you find yourself in a hit-and-run accident, here are the steps you should follow:
Stay Calm: It is natural to feel upset and angry, but it is important to stay calm and focused so you can gather the necessary information. Don’t attempt to chase after the fleeing driver. It could cause danger to yourself and others. It’s better to stay at the scene.
Check for Injuries: Check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately.
Note Details: Try to note down as many details as possible about the other vehicle involved in the accident, such as the make, model, color, license plate number, and any distinguishing features.
Contact the Police: Call the police and report the accident. Provide them with all the information you have about the other vehicle. They will create an accident report which will be valuable for insurance purposes and potential legal action.
Talk to Witnesses: If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information. They may be able to provide additional information that could help identify the hit-and-run driver.
Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including any damage to your vehicle and other relevant details. This documentation can serve as valuable evidence later on.
Contact Your Insurance Company: Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the necessary details and documentation.
Seek Legal Advice: Depending on the circumstances of the hit-and-run accident, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney. They can help guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.
When Should You Hire an Attorney After Suffering a Hit-and-Run Accident?
It is advisable to consult with an attorney if you have suffered injuries or significant damages in a hit-and-run accident. An attorney will help you navigate the complex legal system, deal with insurance companies, and pursue a personal injury claim if necessary. They can also provide guidance on gathering evidence and maximizing your chances of receiving compensation for your losses. If you have any questions or would like to consult with an attorney, contact Foley & Murphy today.