A car accident is a stressful event. Add a hit-and-run accident into the mix and suddenly the situation gets even more complicated. During a hit-and-run accident, the actions of another person lead to consequences for everyone involved. According to AAA, over the past ten years, there have been 682,000 hit-and-run accidents in the United States. With numbers that high, hit-and-run accidents are something the personal injury attorneys at Patterson Legal Group have experience with.
Here, we explain hit-and-run accidents and offer some tips on what to do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
What Should I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run is when someone has a collision with another vehicle, person, or property and leaves the scene of the accident. Every state has hit-and-run laws in place that make a hit-and-run illegal. Fleeing the scene of an accident can lead to criminal charges, fines, increased insurance premiums, and potential jail time.
Any type of car accident can catch a driver off-guard, but a hit-and-run can be particularly shocking and not something we are often prepared for. Here are five things you should do as quickly as possible if you find yourself in this awful scenario.
Write Down Any Details About the Vehicle
This might not be possible in every hit-and-run situation. If you witnessed the accident and saw the car that hit you, write down as much information as you can while the details are still vivid in your mind. Make a note of the car’s color, make, model, size, license plate numbers, and any other details you may have seen, like a broken taillight or bumper decals. Following a hit-and-run, even the smallest details could help the police.
If you are present during the hit-and-run, try to use your phone to record any possible video or photos.
Make sure to call 911 as soon as possible after the accident. Reporting the hit-and-run to the police will also start an investigation that can result in the suspect’s apprehension. The police will investigate the accident scene to look for any evidence that may be there, such as paint from the other vehicle on your automobile or fragments of the other vehicle on the ground.
Additionally, the police can also look for eyewitnesses, security camera footage, and any other possible sources of information that can help them identify the hit-and-run driver.
Take Photos for Evidence
The police will most likely take photos of the accident scene for evidence, but you should as well. Having the photos on your phone can only help your case and aid your personal injury attorney in the investigation. Take numerous pictures of the car and the surrounding area from different angles.
Check for Injuries
Immediately visit the hospital if you are hurt in a hit-and-run accident. See a doctor for a checkup even after a minor collision. After a car accident, adrenaline can mask injuries like whiplash or muscle and soft tissue injuries. It’s important to visit a doctor as soon as possible to have any injuries evaluated. Make sure to keep your medical records to document your injuries for insurance purposes and to further help your personal injury case.
Request a Copy of the Police Report
Even though it might take a few days or even weeks, ask the responding police for a copy of the accident report. This report will include witness information, images, and possibly the identity of the person who caused the hit-and-run.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
While you will have to call your insurance company after a hit-and-run accident, getting in touch with a personal injury attorney first will help you navigate this complicated situation. In Kansas, your uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for costs after a hit-and-run. If you do talk to your insurance provider, let them know you were in a hit-and-run accident. A claims adjuster will contact you. When speaking to them, do not admit fault or accept a settlement offer.
The insurance company will probably try to settle your claim for less than it is worth. You might be able to negotiate for a higher settlement with the aid of an experienced injury attorney.
Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident? Call Patterson Legal Group
A hit-and-run is more complicated than your average car accident. Having an attorney from Patterson Legal Group can help make the process easier and can ensure you get the settlement you deserve after a hit-and-run. If you or a loved one are the victims of a hit-and-run accident, contact us today. We have several offices in Kansas and Missouri.