Car accidents create a great deal of stress for the victim, particularly when the driver who caused the accident flees the scene. Victims are often unsure about what to do next and whether they can obtain compensation for their injuries.
Below, we have created a list of steps to take right after the crash that could help improve your chances of recovering compensation for damages from the crash, such as medical bills and lost wages.
You should also make sure to contact a reputable car accident lawyer to find out how he or she can help you. The trusted Harrisburg car accident attorneys at Schmidt Kramer can review your situation in a free case evaluation. If you have grounds for a claim and decide to move forward, we will investigate your accident and pursue fair compensation from the parties who are liable for your personal injury.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
This step-by-step guide to hit-and-run accidents can help reduce stress and anxiety after a crash and help preserve your claim:
1. Collect Information About the Other Car and Driver
In the few seconds before the other driver is out of view, you may be able to observe key details that will be helpful in identifying the car and its driver, such as:
- Vehicle make, model, year and color
- License plate number
- Identifying features of the vehicle, such as areas of damage, bumper stickers or tinted windows
- Physical features of the driver, such as gender, skin tone, approximate age and hair color
- Direction the car was going
If you are able to, use your smartphone to take pictures or make a video of the vehicle to capture these details. Pictures or video could capture details you may not be able to see.
If you do not have time to get out your smartphone, take mental notes or write down everything you saw as the car left the scene. Even the smallest details could help the police find the other car and its driver.
2. Try to Find Witnesses
Check around the accident area for witnesses. Pedestrians, other drivers and anyone else in the area may have noticed details about the accident you did not. They may have also taken pictures that provide important evidence for your future legal claim.
If you find any witnesses, ask them what they saw and take notes. Get their names and contact information because your attorney may wish to contact them at a later date for more information about the crash or to ask them to testify to help bolster your claim.
3. Check for Video Footage
If your accident took place near a business or at an intersection with cameras, there may be video footage of the crash or of the driver fleeing the scene. Check with business owners in the area or the local traffic authorities for footage of the incident, such as from a security camera or red-light camera. Your attorney can assist you with collecting any available footage, particularly if there are any legal hurdles to deal with in obtaining the footage.
4. Contact Police and Report the Accident
Provide the responding officer with all the details you have about the accident, the vehicle that hit you and its driver. The officer will write a police report of the accident, which often becomes a critical piece of evidence in an insurance claim because it is an official record of the incident.
5. Obtain Medical Treatment
You should always be evaluated by a physician after any type of car accident. You may have injuries even if you do not feel symptoms immediately. Obtaining medical care will provide you a diagnosis and treatment plan to help you recover properly.
Doctors will also document all of the medical care you receive in your medical records. These records will help link your injuries to the accident, which is crucial after any type of accident. This helps to show the legitimacy of your claim and the damages you have sustained.
6. File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim
Pennsylvania requires car insurance companies to follow a no-fault system when determining liability for a car accident. This means that most car accident victims must seek insurance compensation from their own insurance, no matter who is at fault for the accident.
In a hit-and-run accident, if the police are unable to locate the other driver, you can obtain compensation through your uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UM and UIM insurance provide compensation when drivers who cause an accident are either uninsured or do not carry enough insurance to fully cover damages.
UM and UIM insurance are optional car insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, although the law requires insurers to offer such policies. These policies compensate you for medical expenses from the crash.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers Right Away
The Harrisburg car accident attorneys of Schmidt Kramer may be able to pursue compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. We have helped many clients obtain compensation for damages they suffered in many types of car accidents. We are prepared to put our knowledge and skill to work for you to help you move forward with your life.
Schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation today to learn what legal options may be available in your case. We take cases on a contingency basis so we only receive payment when we successfully recover compensation for our clients.