Any accident is, at a minimum, frustrating and some are tragic. When an accident is a hit-and-run, it adds complexity to the situation.
WHEN YOU WERE PARKED
If the accident happened while your car was parked, check for potential witnesses or video cameras that might have recorded the incident. Take photos of your vehicle and wider shots that clearly show that you were legally parked when your vehicle was hit. Get shots of any glass or other debris on the ground.
WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING
The first step, after tending to any injuries and calling 911 for help, is to gather as much information as possible.
If you were in the vehicle when the hit-and-run occurred, write down as much of the plate number as you remember. Also jot down the make, model, color, and a description of the vehicle. Each teenager and adult in your vehicle should write down their perspective before you compare notes. We are all subject to being influenced by other perspectives which can distort our memory. Recording the information we remember before we talk to others prevents being influenced by their perspective of the situation.
If it is possible to safely snap a photo of the vehicle leaving the scene, do so. A lot of cars look alike. A photograph will ensure that the type of vehicle will be correctly identified even if you don’t get the license plate number.
Also, note the time and location where the incident occurred and which direction the hit-and-run driver headed after the accident. Jotting down the license plates of any potential witnesses can help investigators locate witnesses even if they don’t stay in the area to be interviewed. If witnesses come forward before help arrives, get their contact information.
Your first priority is tending to any injuries and getting help to your location.
You may also need to set out flares to avoid being hit again. If you’re too injured to set out flares, ask a bystander to do it for you. While the accident isn’t your fault, you have a responsibility to prevent additional injuries. If your car is stopped after a blind curve, you are at risk of causing an accident that could injure you further and injure people in a vehicle coming around the corner that doesn’t have time to stop before ramming into your parked vehicle.
Do not, under any circumstances, follow the hit-and-run driver. The behavior of someone who will flee the scene of an accident is unpredictable. If you were unlucky enough to catch them, they might cause further harm in an effort to escape the consequences of their actions.
WHO TO CALL
After the accident, report it to the local police first. You will also want to contact your auto insurance agent, or if you purchased your policy online, your auto insurance company. If you or any of your passengers were injured, contact a personal injury attorney.
Accidents with injuries can be complicated. Some injuries cause medical bills that will occur for decades to come. Other types of injuries may impair an individual’s ability to work on their own or any profession. Serious injuries can cause cognitive decline or the inability to function in a number of capacities. Appropriate compensation can be difficult to determine. Attempting to settle your claim without an expert by your side can result in accepting less than you should.
It’s not a money matter so much as it is a question of whether you’ll be able to cover the medical expenses related to your injuries in the coming years.
The compensation can be just as difficult to determine when there is a fatal injury. There are multiple ways to calculate the financial compensation that should be paid when a life is lost and all of them can appear logical.
Hopefully, you will never need this information but if you do, remember to remain as calm as possible and follow the steps outlined above.