Motor vehicle accidents can happen to anyone on the road. Generally, responsible drivers stop after a car crash to exchange information, notify the relevant authorities, and call for medical assistance if required.
The already unfortunate incident can be frustrating if the other driver decides to flee the scene of the crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that at least one out of ten motor vehicle accidents are hit-and-runs.
Drivers involved in a car crash have the legal responsibility to be present at the accident scene once they feel that they are safe and unharmed. However, if you are the victim in a hit-and-run accident and the other driver evades their legal duty, you may need to seek legal counsel to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.
You might not be able to identify the other party in a hit-and-run. However, you will need to show that the accident did not occur because of your fault for you to claim or recover compensation.
Retaining a competent attorney increases your chances of recovering damages in a hit-and-run accident where it is not possible to identify the other driver. Let us discuss in detail what you need to do when involved in a hit-and-run accident.
Call for Medical Attention
The number one thing on your list should be to call 911 and get immediate medical attention for yourself or anyone else injured in the accident. This is important not just for your well-being but also for your personal injury claim.
It is prudent to have a medical check-up after an accident even if you feel all right at the given moment. An upsurge of adrenaline may make your injuries less apparent than they are, in a stressful event like an accident.
It’s prudent to see a doctor and evaluate the actual situation so that you can document the injuries. This becomes pivotal later to prove that you deserve to recover adequate compensation.
Notify the Authorities
The law stipulates that fleeing from the scene of an accident can be a criminal act that may result in a fine and a potential prison term. You must report the accident to the relevant authorities as soon as you can.
Notifying the police with as many details as you can remember can give them time to investigate and identify the absconding driver.
Gather All the Information
Note down as many details about the other car as possible, including:
- License plate number of the other vehicle
- Model, color, and make of the other vehicle
- Description of the other driver
- Direction that the other vehicle took after the accident
- Location and time of the accident
Enquire from other drivers or witnesses at the accident site if they saw anything that could help you in identifying the driver. You must also check the local area for any security camera footage at the time of your accident.
Use your cell phone to click pictures from the crash site, including the damage to your car. In a personal injury trial, all the details that you can gather can be critical in ensuring that you recover fair and rightful compensation for your injuries.
Seek Competent Legal Guidance
After making sure that you get proper medical care, notify the police, and document all the evidence, you should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. A skilled attorney would know how to identify and file a compensation claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
Your attorney can compile the documents, take statements from witnesses, and recheck the surveillance footage with the help of the police. They can rope in experts to piece together the accident and identify the absconding driver. All these things can help you with your claim and also ensure that the trail does not get cold.
What Not to Do in a Hit-and-Run Accident
While you need to make sure that you follow the steps we discussed above, it is equally important for you to be mindful of certain things that you must avoid in a hit-and-run scenario. These are:
Do Not Try to Chase the Fleeing Driver
Trying to follow the other driver can not only put you in an unsafe position, it can also deprive you of the chance to collect crucial evidence from the crash site and eyewitness accounts. It is always better to notify the police and help them identify the absconding driver.
Do Not Delay in Notifying the Authorities or the Insurance Company
The police can start looking for the other driver once you file a complaint with them. If you take too much time in doing that, it may prove detrimental to your chances of claiming compensation.
Speak with an Experienced Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
Once you have taken the necessary steps, your attorney can navigate you through the process of filing your claim while you can work on your recovery and start living your normal life.
If you or someone you know has been a victim in a hit-and-run accident, contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to set up a meeting with one of our skilled Virginia personal injury attorneys. We can schedule a free case evaluation and determine what type of financial compensation you may rightfully deserve. Call us today at 800-752-0042 or contact us online.