7 Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Car accidents are stressful enough, but they are even worse when the other driver flees the scene. These are called hit-and-run accidents and they happen all across Georgia; even though it is illegal to leave the scene of a car accident.
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, there are seven steps you need to take to collect information about the car and driver and pursue compensation for the damages you suffered.
Schedule a free legal consultation with our Savannah car accident attorneys to find out how we can help you after a hit-and-run crash.
1. Try to Stay Calm
It can be difficult to stay calm after a car accident, especially when the other vehicle is fleeing. However, you could improve your chances of collecting information about the car and driver if you stay calm.
2. Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
Never leave the accident scene to pursue the other driver. Your car is damaged and it may not be safe to drive. You also do not know why the driver fled, he or she might be wanted by police. Chasing after this person could be dangerous.
That is why you should allow the police to pursue the other driver. Police officers know how to deal with these situations safely.
3. Write Down Information About the Car and Driver
The moments after a hit-and-run accident are critical for finding the other driver and his or her vehicle. You may only have a few seconds to watch the car before it is out of view, so you need to react quickly.
Take note of the make, model, color and damage to the vehicle. If possible, note the license plate number, as this could be the key to finding the vehicle. If you have your smartphone handy, take a photo of the car before it flees. Your photo may capture the license plate number and other identifying information.
If possible, try to see what the driver looks like, including:
- Hair color and style
- Approximate age
4. Talk to Witnesses
Other people may have seen your accident and can provide the details you are missing. Once you have recorded the information you know, look for witnesses and talk to them about what they saw.
If your accident took place near businesses, check with them to see if employees or customers witnessed the crash and can provide details. Businesses may also have cameras that recorded your accident, which could be invaluable evidence.
Write down names and contact information for all witnesses so you can contact them later with more questions or to clarify what they said.
5. Contact Police
Call the police and wait for an officer to respond. Describe the accident and give the officer the information you have.
Law enforcement will file an accident report and begin searching for the vehicle. The accident report can be used as evidence when you pursue a personal injury claim.
You may be given a copy of the accident report at the scene, or be told how to obtain one later. You can also go online to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department website to learn how to obtain a copy of the accident report.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical care after your hit and run accident, even if you do not feel hurt. A doctor will perform a thorough evaluation, including imaging and other diagnostic tests, to find and treat your injuries so you can start the path to recovery.
Seeing a physician right after an accident is extremely important in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The date you sought treatment will be included on your medical records and this will help link your injuries to the accident. This will help disprove claims from insurers or attorneys for the other driver that your injuries were caused by something else besides the accident.
7. File an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim against the at fault driver in a hit-and-run case can be difficult, especially if the driver has not been caught. Even if police find the driver, he or she might not have insurance, which is often the reason drivers flee the scene of a crash.
Depending on your personal auto insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim against your own insurance to recover compensation for your injuries.
If you do not have coverage for a hit-and-run accident and the other driver is identified and found to be uninsured, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be an option to recover compensation.
Contact an Attorney for Help
The Savannah personal injury attorneys of Roden Law are experienced in handling hit-and-run accidents. We will investigate your accident and gather evidence to hold the at fault driver responsible for the damages he or she has caused. We will fight to recover maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation and learn what legal options are available for pursuing compensation after a hit-and-run accident. When working with our firm, there are no upfront fees and we are only paid if we recover compensation in your case.