There’s little in life as infuriating as being the victim of a hit and run accident, and with an average of 682,000 happening every year, odds are you or someone you know has been a victim of one.
If this is the case, you don’t need to feel completely victimized. How do you take control of the situation? Do you think, “What to do in a hit and run?” It can be hard to think quickly and know what to do when you’ve been hit, but with a little preparation, you can come out on top.
What to Do in a Hit and Run Accident
We’ll help you get prepared beforehand so that in the case of such an unfortunate event, you’ll be ready to handle things.
Here are 7 simple steps for what to do in a hit and run to protect yourself from further injury or damage, and ensure the best outcome for yourself.
1. Stop and Call the Police
When you’ve been the victim of a hit and run, and you see that idiot speeding away, you may be tempted to drive after them.
Individuals who are dishonest enough to inflict injury or damage on someone else and then try to avoid the consequences, are not likely to greet you in a friendly (or safe) manner.
Your best first response will always be to pull over safely and immediately call the police. Even if you were unable to get a good look at the car or license plate of the offender, call the police right away to avoid insurance problems.
Failing to report the accident and all the resulting damage or injuries may lead to a lengthy insurance claims process or the worst–having your insurance agency deny you altogether.
2. Try to Gather Quality Evidence
As mentioned, it may be hard to get the license plate of the person who has hit you. If you can, without chasing after them, do so.
This will be huge in being able to get insurance to adequately cover the damages, or have police locate the person. You may even consider owning a dashboard camera if you don’t already as they can be very helpful in catching such important details when you cannot.
Be sure to photograph all the damage done to your car, from every angle. It’s best to have very clear pictures of high quality. Quality is also better than quantity in these situations.
If all you can do is remember some details like the color or model of the car that hit you, write this down and report it as well.
While the license plate number is your best hope for getting coverage, any information you can provide will help.
3. Grab Witnesses
When you’re the victim of a hit and run, it’s important to record as much about the incident as possible. What happened leading up to the collision? What happened after?
If you can find individuals who witnessed the hit and run, ask them if they would be willing to give you contact information or record what they saw. Witnesses may also be helpful if they happened to catch the license plate number of the person who hit you.
Try to find witnesses who are willing to give you their contact information in case the police, insurance agents, or even injury lawyers need to speak with them.
4. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Agent
Your claim will be processed much faster and more smoothly if you report the accident immediately.
Give them as many details as you can, including witness contact information, or the name and badge of attending police officers. If necessary, call your insurance agency’s emergency line to make sure things get reported as close to the time of the accident as possible.
Your insurance agent may have useful resources like this blog, or others that you can visit for more ideas on how to process your claim or react in such an accident.
5. Seek Medical Attention
Depending on the severity of the crash, you may have to request medical attention at the time you first call 911. If however, you are not hurt badly enough to request an ambulance, be sure to report any injury no matter how minor.
For example, if you’re feeling a slight pain in your neck or back after the accident, it will do you little good to call your insurance company and report it unless you were able to have a doctor verify the damage directly following the incident.
So, no matter how minor the pain or injury, it’s best to see a doctor or visit an urgent care to get checked out. Better safe than sorry.
6. Contact Your Lawyer
If you are lucky enough to have the offender apprehended, and you find yourself needing to take them to court to pay for damages, call your lawyer.
If you don’t have a decent attorney or you need an experienced injury or accident attorney, do your research and find someone with a proven history of success.
7. Stay Calm
There are few problems in life that aren’t made worse by freaking out. Being the victim of a hit and run accident is truthful both incredibly frustrating and frightening.
However, one of the worst things you can do in such a situation is to lose your cool. Learn how to stay calm during a crisis.
Try not to react in anger. This can lead to making foolish choices like chasing the culprit down and getting into further accidents or even face to face altercations.
What may be a frustrating situation could quickly become an even more dangerous one. Police, lawyers, and insurance companies, even witnesses, are much less happy to offer help if you’re acting like a furious nut-case.
Finding the Right Legal Help
At the end of the day, knowing what to do in a hit and run accident is important–but will do you little good if you don’t have adequate legal help.
More than adequate, excellent legal help can be the most important step to making sure you and your loved ones are taken care of and treated fairly following an accident.
For help finding the best legal help near you, check out our extensive directory of the best attorneys near you.