You’re driving to the store, listening to your favorite songs on the radio, when suddenly, you’ve been hit. However, before you can collect yourself, the driver responsible for your collision has taken off, leaving you to deal with the damage.
What now? Knowing how to handle a hit and run accident can feel confusing and disorienting, especially in the immediate moments after the incident.
Keep reading to learn the steps you should take if you’re the victim of this common auto accident.
Prioritize Your Safety
The most essential step after you’re involved in various types of car accidents is to keep yourself safe. You may feel as though you’ll want to follow the other driver. However, this can put you at risk.
Drivers flee the scene for many reasons, including expired licenses or insurance coverage. These car accident causes are unfortunate, leaving you stuck cleaning up the mess.
However, if the person who hit you is fleeing for more nefarious reasons, following them could raise their temper, leaving you vulnerable to personal injury.
Instead, you’ll want to call 911 and request medical emergency services if you or others have been injured. You will also need to request a police presence, as filing a report as soon as possible can help protect you don’t the line.
If you don’t have any noticeable symptoms, you’ll still want to visit your doctor after you’ve taken care of things at the scene of the accident. Some injuries may not be visible, so getting checked out for whiplash or concussions is essential.
You should also move your car out of the way of other traffic. This can help keep you and your car safe from other drivers.
Call the Police
As previously mentioned, you’ll want to call the police, as this will help find the culprit and assist in filing a report with your insurance company.
You may think waiting a few hours may be better, as you may be late for an appointment or meeting. However, calling the police as soon as possible can help you get the most accurate report to give to your insurance company.
The police will take your statement and witness accounts and create a report about the accident. You’ll want to give the police any information you have gathered before they arrive on the scene.
A police presence can also help alleviate any traffic building up due to the accident. This traffic can lead to more accidents and issues, so ensuring the police are on the scene to move other drivers along is essential.
Gather as Much Information as Possible
As the police are on their way, you’ll want to locate any witnesses that can help corroborate your story. You will also want to exchange contact information with any witnesses, as they can help later down the line.
A witness will be able to provide the most accurate details of the accident, so ensuring you have witnesses ready to talk to the police is essential. You can find pedestrians, another driver, and those who witnessed the accident from inside nearby establishments.
Try to note the license plate number, make, model, year, and color of the other car involved in the accident. This can help the police locate the vehicle and bring the culprit to justice.
After you fill out the police report, you may want to try and locate any security footage of the incident. You may also want to invest in dashboard cameras for your car, as they can help keep you protected.
Another option is to ask local businesses and residents if they have any security footage from cameras or doorbells. These can be beneficial in proving that you aren’t the driver at fault.
Reach Out to Your Insurance Company
You’ll need to call your insurance company as soon as possible, especially if you have damage to your car or sustained bodily harm. You’ll want to file a claim, which can be an arduous process but is extremely necessary.
When filing the claim, you’ll need to present all the evidence and information you’ve gathered. This includes police reports, witness accounts, security footage, and your own recount of the accident.
You’ll want to file as soon as possible to ensure you can provide the most accurate description of the hit and run accident.
In many instances, if you can prove you aren’t at auto accident fault for the damages, your insurance company should have a policy to help cover the cost of repairs.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Finally, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer to represent you if you decide to follow through and bring a case to court.
You’ll want to determine if you need a car accident attorney, and in many instances, you can schedule a consultation with a lawyer. They will review your claims and help point you in the right direction.
If the police have found the culprit, you may want to bring them to court for the cost of damages to yourself and your car. Similarly, you may have suffered the loss of wages due to injuries caused by the incident, so an auto accident lawsuit can help you.
Know What to Do if You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident
Knowing what to do after a car accident is essential to protecting yourself after a crash. If you don’t take the proper steps, you may become liable for the accident. This can cost you big time!
If this guide on how to handle a hit and run accident has you ready to keep yourself protected, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website. There, you can find more helpful auto tips and tricks.