October 8, 2021
What Should I Do if I Have Been in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there is a hit-and-run car accident every minute in the U.S. Over 10 percent of car crashes reported to the police are hit-and-run accidents. A hit-and-run is an accident where at least one person involved in the collision leaves the scene without offering aid or contact information or fails to report the crash to authorities. No one should leave the scene of an accident. Doing so is against the law, and in some states, it is a felony.
The chance of recovering full compensation for damages caused by a hit-and-run driver is not good. However, there are some options. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, the best thing to do is to realize what has happened in time to focus on the fleeing driver.
Sometimes, their vehicle is also damaged, and they may not be able to speed off. If that is the case, try to make a mental note of the make and model of the car and any distinguishing features, such as where it might be damaged and the color. Try to see the license plate and remember as much about it as possible, including the color, state, and actual number. If possible and conditions permit, try to grab your cellphone, and snap a photo of the fleeing vehicle.
It is also important to try to see the driver and make note of their gender, age, race, hair color, and clothing as much as possible. To the greatest extent possible, get to a safe place and immediately write down what you recall. In stressful situations, it is easy to forget small details. If you can capture enough details, it will be possible to apprehend the fleeing driver.
Do not attempt to follow the fleeing driver. This can risk leaving behind important evidence. Also, the driver may not be safe to approach because they might be in a compromised emotional state, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or some other unstable condition. You could get even more hurt trying to track them down yourself.
Identify Bystanders Who Witnessed the Crash
Often, when an accident has happened, bystanders are willing to make a statement. Those who are willing will often remain in the area to help. Keep in mind that there may have been other witnesses. Look around to see if there are any storefronts with windows facing the road. There may be witnesses inside who saw what happened and are willing to make a statement.
Many stores have security cameras rolling 24 hours a day. Depending on the angle of the camera, it may be possible that the crash was captured by one of these cameras.
Call 911 to Report the Accident
Call 911 as soon as possible to report the accident. If the police have not arrived at the scene on their own accord, be sure to ask for them to come and make an accident report. Even if the driver who hit you has fled, it is still possible for them to gather evidence, such as skid marks on the road or paint left on your vehicle. They can create an official police report that can be used as evidence in your case.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
Serious injuries from car crashes are not always obvious. Among the most dangerous are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and internal bleeding. These injuries may manifest as tiredness and confusion, which are also normal reactions to being in a car accident. However, they can quickly develop to dangerous and even fatal conditions.
It is also common for a person injured in a car crash to be in shock where their pain does not register. Do not take lack of serious pain as a sign of having only minor injuries. Failing to get these serious injuries diagnosed and treated as soon as possible can be catastrophic. In addition, it is important to get records of your injuries to support any case you may bring later.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Car insurance coverage depends on where you live. In addition, the policy you have sets limits. The different types of coverage include collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage, bodily injury protection, and more. Collision will normally pay to repair damage to your vehicle minus the deductible. Uninsured motor vehicle coverages usually help with paying medical expenses, lost wages, and repairs of damage to the car if the driver at fault for the crash either does not have car insurance or if they remain unknown. States vary in whether this coverage is available for hit-and-run accidents.
Some insurance policies offer direct compensation property damage (DCPD) coverage as an alternative to collision. If a witness can help you identify the driver of the vehicle that took off, then your claim can be covered under the DCPD section of your policy. In this case, there is no deductible. Some insurers offer a deductible waiver for hit-and-run collisions. If you have this endorsement in your policy, then you will not have to pay for the collision deductible. Pennsylvania allows the insurance purchaser to choose which type of policy to purchase.
Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Clients Injured in Hit-and-Run Accidents
Being involved in a hit-and-run accident is upsetting and figuring out the ins and outs of how to file a claim can be daunting. Contact our experienced Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., and we can review your case and develop a strategy. Call us at 267-861-7100 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Norristown, Pennsylvania.