A hit and run can be a particularly confusing, disorienting, and not to mention frustrating experience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a victim of a hit and run accident as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver. Knowing the next steps to take in the aftermath is very important.
In this guide, we’re going to help you navigate through the necessary actions that ensure safety. This course of action will help you protect your interests and facilitate a smoother resolution down the line.
Ensure Personal Safety
The first order of business is ensuring your own safety. The immediate aftermath is quite disorienting and potentially dangerous. No matter how you are involved in the accident, it’s best to move away to a safe location, especially away from any oncoming traffic.
Check yourself for injuries and if any medical attention is required, call for help immediately. You can turn on hazard lights or use warning devices to alert other motorists of any situation.
Once you’ve ensured personal safety, the next logical step is to gather as much information as you can about the incident. You should take notes of the details of the vehicle involved including the make, model, and color. Of course, if possible, you should also note down the license plate number and record it.
You can also go one step further and collect contact information from any witnesses present at the scene. These testimonies can be invaluable in reconstructing the events and identifying the responsible party. The more such information you can gather, the better equipped you’re going to be in the following steps.
Report the Incident
Reporting a hit and run case as quickly as possible is also very important. This aids in the investigative process. The longer the delay, the smaller your chances, and the longer the case can become.
Quickly get in touch with local law enforcement and report the incident. Provide all the information you have gathered so far. You will also need to file a police report that details all the circumstances of the hit and ruin accident such as the time, location, and witness statements, if any.
Some regions have emergency hotlines for hit and run incidents. You should use these resources to expedite the response from law enforcement. The more prompt you are, the more effective the investigation will be, as the vehicle couldn’t have gone too far.
Document the Scene
Documenting the entire scene is another pivotal step that should be followed once you’ve reported the incident to the authorities and ensured your own safety. This can help you build a comprehensive record of the incident for police use. As part of this step, you’re suggested to take photographs of the accident from different angles.
Make sure you capture the positioning of vehicles and that any damage is visible. Road signs and landmarks should also be present in as many photographs as possible, if applicable and if relevant.
If your vehicle or property has suffered damage, it’s important for your photographs to show the extent of the damage or impact. This will be the crucial evidence when you work with law enforcement and insurance providers later on. Always aim to make your documentation as detailed and thorough as possible. Video recordings of the entire scene can help greatly.
Seek Witness Testimonials
Next, you should know that witness testimonials strengthen your case in a hit and run investigation quite significantly. You can approach people who may have seen the incident and request their statements. The statements can be captured with video or voice recordings. You should also collect the contact information of any witnesses present on the scene so that your version of events can be corroborated.
Witnesses can provide unique perspectives, and details, or even recall the license plate number or the make and model of the fleeing vehicle better than you. These accounts will be instrumental in establishing a clear version of events and aiding the authorities in apprehending the responsible party. Memories might disappear or change, so it’s best to capture these testimonials when the incident is fresh in everyone’s mind.
Notify Your Insurance Company
After doing all the above steps, it’s time to get in touch with your insurance company. You should report the hit and run and again provide all the information to them. Also, tell them the rest of the information that you have ready, such as witness testimonials and video recordings. Notify them that you’ve filed a police report. If you already have a copy of it, you can share it with them.
You should be fairly familiar with your insurance policy’s coverage. Cooperate with the company and initiate the claims process to determine the extent of coverage available to you. A timely notification of the incident will help you streamline the claims process, which can lead to a smoother resolution.
Cooperate with Law Enforcement
Be prepared to comply with the demands of law enforcement. You will need to cooperate with investigators, provide detailed statements, share evidence from the gathered information, and answer all questions honestly. It helps to keep a calm mind at this point, as the questions could be tedious or even repetitive in some cases, as everyone is trying to find out what went down and how.
Be patient and supportive of the efforts of others, including the authorities involved in conducting a thorough investigation. This increases the chances of identifying the responsible party. You will also need to maintain an open communication channel with law enforcement and follow any instructions they provide.
When all is said and done, it’s time to explore your legal recourse. This is more important to do if the responsible party has not been identified. Consult with an attorney who specializes in the domain, such as a personal injury lawyer or a traffic law attorney. Understand your legal rights and potential pathways you can take to seek compensation.
A competent attorney will also help you during the insurance claims process, finding out missed opportunities if there are any, or aiding the police with its investigation with proper documentation of the events.
The aftermath of a hit and run incident can be quite a hassle. It’s important for you to take prompt and methodological steps starting right from ensuring personal safety and gathering information all the way up to getting fair compensation. Follow the guidelines outlined here and you should be able to protect your rights and work toward a reasonable resolution.