Nobody wants or decides to be in a hit-and-run crash, but if you’re in just such a situation, there are certain things you should do – and not do – to protect your legal rights. Below, we outline what to do, what you shouldn’t do, and whether you can still file an accident claim even if the other driver is never found.
What You Need To Do Following a Hit & Run
Being involved in any kind of accident is confusing and disorienting, making it difficult to know what to do. Here are a few steps you can take directly after a hit-and-run collision to get the help you need:
Stop Your Vehicle
After you have been hit by a fleeing driver, the first thing you should do is stop your vehicle. If at all possible, try to get your vehicle to the shoulder or side of the road. This will help to ensure the safety of you and other drivers who may pass the accident scene. In some situations though, this may not be possible due to the severity of the accident.
Call Emergency Personnel
Contact emergency services as soon as possible after the collision. If you or anyone else in your vehicle has been injured, call 911 immediately. If the accident wasn’t serious, you can contact the police. Let them know that you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident and give them your location. You should also get medical attention right away, even if you think you haven’t been injured or your injuries aren’t serious.
Get Witness Information
If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their name and phone number or other contact information. While this is true of any collision, obtaining witness statements in a hit-and-run is even more critical if anyone else saw the accident. They may be able to provide valuable information that you don’t have or didn’t see that can help identify the driver.
If you have a camera or phone with a camera, take photos of the scene of the accident, including any damage to your vehicle and any injuries you may have sustained. If you can, don’t wait – photos of your vehicle in the position it was after being hit or new injuries can be extremely helpful in documenting what happened.
What You Shouldn’t Do After a Hit & Run
In addition to taking the appropriate action after being involved in a hit-and-run accident, you should also be careful to avoid certain actions that could put you in danger or compromise a future legal case if you decide or are able to bring one. Don’t:
Pursue the Other Driver
Even if you think you can catch them, don’t try to pursue the other driver either in your vehicle or on foot. This could make the situation worse, and you don’t know if the other driver is armed or otherwise dangerous. As hard as it is, the safest thing to do after a hit-and-run is to let the at-fault driver go.
Leave the Scene of the Accident
Even if you are not at fault and the other driver has fled the scene, you need to stay at the scene until authorities arrive and release you. If you leave too, proving your case may be more difficult or you may even be charged with a hit-and-run too if you were caught on camera.
Wait to Call the Authorities
A common mistake people make after a hit-and-run accident is waiting to contact the police. This is often because the victim believes that if the at-fault driver is missing, the police can’t help. But this isn’t true and the sooner you call after a collision, the better chance they have of finding the other driver.
Can I Still File An Accident Claim?
In many cases, authorities can still find the driver who fled the scene of the accident. Give them as much information as you can about the other vehicle, including its make, model, color, and license plate number. The police will enter this information into a nationwide database and if the driver is later stopped for another offense, the police will be able to link them to the hit-and-run.
Contact a Lawyer For Guidance
Even if the police are unable to find the driver who fled the scene of your accident, you may still be able to get compensation for your damages through your own insurance company. However, because these claims can be complex, it is best to contact a lawyer for guidance before taking any action.
Mazow | McCullough, PC Can Help
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run collision, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and property damage. The veteran personal injury attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, PC can help. Reach out today for a consultation to discuss the details of your case by calling (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.