According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, one in five pedestrian deaths were the result of a hit and run driver. Additionally, hit and run accidents can also occur with other drivers, and they caused 7.8% of California’s traffic fatalities in 2003. After a hit and run accident, it can be difficult and frustrating to get the justice that you deserve. However, there are some things that you can do following a hit and run to help the law enforcement officials with your case.
After an accident, the drivers involved are responsible for stopping and rendering aid, if necessary. They must also exchange information and wait for the police to sort out the accident. However, sometimes drivers choose to flee the scene rather than accept responsibility. A hit and run accident can occur when a driver is too afraid to stop, which may be due to driving without insurance or even having other run-ins with the law. Additionally, drunk drivers are also common perpetrators.
It is obvious when a driver hits something, such as sideswipes another person’s car or hits a pedestrian. Thus, there is no reason at all for them to skip out on the scene following an accident. Following this accident, it is important that you contact the police as soon as possible. This way, you can tell them everything you remember while it is still fresh on your mind.
Next, you should follow the same steps that you would do in a normal accident. This includes visiting the hospital and keeping a record of your medical bills, as well as any property damage you may have suffered.
How To Handle A Hit And Run Accident
When you are involved in a hit and run accident, it is understandable that you feel confused and angry. It is also a time when you would be unclear on how you can get compensated for the damages you suffered. However, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that the claim process is smoother than usual.
Here, we elaborate on the ways in which you can handle this unfortunate situation.
What Is Classified As A Hit And Run Accident?
A hit and run accident is one in which a driver (usually the one at fault) leaves the scene of the accident intentionally without providing contact details. Some examples of hit and run accidents are as follows:
- A vehicle hits you and speeds off without stopping
- A driver hits your parked car that was unattended, leaving no contact details for collection of damages.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents, whereby a vehicle operator runs from the scene of a wreck, are outlawed in every state, but they occur at an all too common amount. The most common example of this type of accident involves parking lot wrecks whereby a driver hits a stationary car, but the repercussions can be much more serious too. More series cases of hit and run collisions have a motorist running from the scene of personal injury wrecks, many times without calling the police station or calling the proper authorities to help the hurt party. This type of wreck is irritating, but a car wreck lawyer can help in assisting with the steps that are next.
What to do After a Hit and Run
The title hit and run originates from the idea that the responsible driver can’t be identified. As such, one of the most important things you can do as a victim of this type of collision is to gather any information that could be used against the at fault driver. This includes license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions and witness identifications among others. Never get in a car chase though, as you never know why the other driver is fleeing the scene.
You should also never forget to contact the police as soon as you can. Their report will provide your insurance company with proof that you were, actually, involved in a hit and run wreck. In extreme cases, the authorities can also employ forensic techniques to look for the hit and run automobile.
This type of wreck makes it very hard to recover compensation from the driver responsible. And in the instance that you are able to locate the at fault driver, there is a large possibility that the driver ran from the scene simply because they are not insured.
What Not To Do After A Hit And Run Accident:
In case you are involved in a hit and run accident, there are certain things you should avoid doing:
- Do not leave the accident spot to confront the at-fault driver.
- Do not wait in a travel lane in your vehicle; try to get the vehicle moved to a safe place, if possible.
- Do not leave the accident scene without collecting adequate information.
- While waiting for the police, do not block the traffic.
The complications of any motor vehicle accident are greatly compounded when an involved driver leaves the scene of the accident. It is illegal in all fifty states to flee the scene of an accident if there is injury to either a person or to property. Despite these laws, hit and run accidents of both minor and more serious natures are all too common. One of the most benign types of a hit and run involves when a driver causes damage to another car in a parking lot.
But more serious hit and run accidents involve serious crashes or even hitting pedestrians or bicyclists, resulting in wrongful death.
There are five key steps you should take if you are ever involved in an accident where the other driver flees the scene:
• Even if you are able, do not follow the other driver. Remain at the scene of the accident and call the police. Chasing a driver could cause further injury to yourself-it could also disqualify you from making a claim under your own insurance in the case you have to use the underinsured/uninsured driver section of your policy.
• Try to remember as many details about the hit and run driver’s vehicle as you can. Make, model, color can all be helpful in determining the culprit of the accident, particularly if the driver was intoxicated. Drunk drivers are often repeat offenders and their vehicles may be on law enforcement watch lists.
• Rely on the aid of witnesses. You may be in shock too much to know what happened, but good witnesses can help identify the situation and the at-fault driver. If other drivers stop to check on you, ask them to stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive and can record their account of the accident and their personal information.
• Purchase under/uninsured motorist coverage from your insurance. Sadly, many at-fault drivers in hit and run accidents may never be identified, especially if there were no other witnesses. Underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy can still cover your injuries if the at-fault driver is not identified. This coverage is a minimal cost for the protection it gives you and should always be a part of your insurance coverage.
• Talk with your attorney. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you determine your best course of action- if it is pursuing the at-fault driver or trying to file a claim with your own insurance.
Hit and run accidents can be devastating for families, particularly in wrongful death situations. Not only have you lost a loved one, but you are unsure of who is responsible. In situations of death, a criminal investigation should be undertaken. If there is enough information about the other vehicle, the police may be able to issue search warrants in order to search a vehicle for damage or even DNA that would identify the at-fault driver.
In cases such as these, you should immediately retain an attorney who is knowledgeable in hit and run accidents, wrongful death, and criminal law.
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