Q: I know the general protocol for most car accidents, but what should I do in a hit-and-run accident?
While most of us who have been involved in a fender-bender (or even something more serious) maybe wanted to just escape the hassle and expense of an accident by driving off, we all know it is illegal and that it would end in more trouble. That is why responsible adults stick around, exchange information, and own up to their role in an accident.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares your moral compass, and many people let panic get the best of them after hitting another car. While your inner vigilante may be dying to chase after them in hot pursuit, there is a much safer and more effective protocol in the event that you are ever involved in an accident with a driver that runs off.
While it can be hard to focus after the initial shock of being hit, try to remember these five tips:
- Get as much visual information about the car that hit you as you possibly can. While you may not have time to get a good look at the license plate, even a quick look can help police (such as the state or a unique license plate frame). Could you tell what kind of car it was? What color was it? Was it brand new, or did it look older? What direction were they heading before and after they hit you?
- Call the police and remain at the scene until they arrive. Also be sure to give them any information that you can about the car that hit you. If your car is able to drive, get off to the side of the road away from traffic while you wait.
- Gather any potential witness information. Did someone approach you to let you know that they witnessed the accident? Get their name and contact information so that the police or even your insurance company can reach them if needed.
- If you were injured, seek medical treatment immediately. The more proactive you are about your treatment, the more likely you are to receive full compensation for your medical expenses.
- Report the accident to your own insurance company. Many times, uninsured motorist coverage may include coverage in the event of a hit-and-run accident. Prompt reporting to your own insurer can also allow them to pursue the other drivers’ insurance if the police are able to track them down.
After an accident, it may also be wise to contact an attorney, especially if you are hurt. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, we may be able to help—call one of our offices today, or simply click on the live chat feature to be connected with us now.