What to Do After a Hit-And-Run Accident
Accidents cause a variety of emotions in both the driver at fault and the victim. Often, the driver who believes he or she is at fault experiences a “fight or flight” moment immediately following impact. Unfortunately, a rising number of these drivers choose to intentionally flee the scene, leaving the victim bewildered, angered, and confused. The experience of a hit-and-run is stressful and traumatic and can result in severe injuries, financial loss, and medical bills. What should a hit-and-run victim do after the guilty party leaves?Stay Calm and Stay Put
The worst thing a victim can do is chase down any driver leaving an accident. All drivers are advised to remain at the scene, regardless of fault, unless seeking immediate medical attention or finding help before returning. Anyone found leaving faces hit-and-run charges, including the victim. Therefore, the best course of action is to refrain from pursuing the other driver, pull safely to the side of the road if it is possible, and contact the police immediately.Collect Data Immediately
Assess yourself and any passengers for signs of injury. Next, if you are able, grab a pen and a napkin or a spare sheet of paper and begin taking notes. While the incident is fresh in your memory recall, you want to make notes of:
- Make, model, and color of the other vehicle;
- License plate number, even if it is just a small portion of it; and
- Description of the driver.
Begin collecting any contact information from witnesses to the incident for future communication. Look around at businesses and ATM locations that may have a security camera that could have recorded part of the accident. Write down the time and place of the crash. Take pictures of the scene, the road conditions, and pictures of your vehicle. Once the police arrive, they will give you a case number for insurance purposes. Ask them also how to obtain your copy of the police report.Call the Insurance Company
If the police find the driver, their insurance company is responsible for the damages. Otherwise, your insurance company will act as a stand-in for the unidentified driver, using your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage policy to cover your losses, and personal injury protection to cover the cost of medical bills. After finding the guilty party, your insurance company can later hold him or her liable for the expenses.Get an Attorney Involved
Insurance adjusters are specially trained to reduce the costs impacting their business. These professionals strategically diminish the injuries and damages a victim sustained to increase their profit margins. A Santa Clara county hit and run accident lawyer will defend your rights and ensure you receive maximum compensation for your experience. At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we have extensive experience interacting with insurance companies and the complications of hit-and-run accidents. Let us help you get the necessary tools for recovery. Call us today for a free initial consultation at (408) 289-1417.