February 7, 2022
What Should I Do after a Hit and Run Accident?
Being seriously injured in a hit and run car accident is a horrible experience. Not only are you suffering pain and possibly hospitalized, but also there is literal insult to injury by the fact that the at-fault driver took off and left you at the scene of the accident. But just because the negligent driver is unknown, you can still help yourself by hiring an experienced lawyer to investigate the case and possibly track down who was at fault. Also, depending on your insurance, a seasoned car accident lawyer will be able to help with medical bills, wage loss, and dealing with your own insurance company.
Hit and Run Accidents Are Common
Hit and run accidents are more common than most people think. They happen quite often, particularly in more metropolitan areas, in and around cities where there is both more vehicle traffic and more pedestrian and bicycle traffic. AAA recently released data about the prevalence of hit and run accidents. These types of accidents accounted for over five percent of traffic fatalities. There is an average increase of seven percent more hit and run accidents per year. Approximately 20 percent of pedestrian crash fatalities involved an at-fault driver who left the scene of the accident. Almost two-thirds of people killed because of hit and run accidents were pedestrians and bicyclists.
Things to Do after a Hit and Run Car Accident
If you are ever involved in a hit and run accident, there are things that you can do that will help your case and increase your chances of receiving the compensation for which you are entitled.
Gather as much information about the other vehicle as possible. It can be difficult to remember specific details about a car if you have been hit by one and the driver does not stop, but it is important to try your best. Write down as many details as you can at the time of the accident, including any distinctive marks on the vehicle that may help identify it. You should do the best that you can while the accident is still fresh in your memory. Try to remember and write down the following after an accident:
- Make, model and color of the vehicle
- License plate number and/or the color of the plate so that you can at least figure out what state in which the vehicle is registered
- If possible, anything that can be remembered about the driver and what they looked like
- Any distinctive features about the vehicle such as different style of body like a tail fin or odd hubcaps or even the presence of bumper stickers or other types of writing on the vehicle
Obtain photos or videos of the accident. If you can capture a picture or video of the vehicle, this will go a long way in helping to identify and locate the vehicle and driver. If you could not get video or a picture of the fleeing vehicle, find out about video from any camera around the accident area, such as stop light cameras or security cameras on near-by buildings or houses.
Talk to witnesses. If you could not take a picture or video of the vehicle, make sure to get the names and contact information of any witnesses. They might have taken pictures or video. At the very least, a witness might be able to give more details about the vehicle and what it looked like. It is understandable if you could not see much detail about the vehicle that just struck you. However, other bystanders should be able to provide more information to you, your lawyer, and the police.
Contact the police. There are many reasons to contact the police after a hit and run accident. First, what the other driver did in fleeing from the scene of an accident is illegal, and that driver should be punished. Second, the police have certain investigatory techniques and tools available to them that the average person or even a lawyer does not. For example, supposed you were struck by a blue truck that looked like a Ford F150. Witnesses were able to see only the first two letters/numbers of the license plate. The police would have the ability to search every blue Ford F150 with those first two digits and potentially locate the at-fault driver.
Contact your insurance company. If you have the right insurance coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company and get compensation if there has been damage to your vehicle or if you are seriously injured. After a hit and run accident, you should call your insurance company right away to let them know what happened and that you are making a claim. The insurance adjuster might also help in the investigation in attempting to find the at-fault driver. However, before you agree to give any kind of recorded statement to your insurance company’s adjuster, make sure to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you. You should not be talking to an adjuster without your own lawyer by your side.
Get medical treatment immediately. Even if you do not believe you were seriously hurt in the accident, see a doctor anyway. There have been countless incidents in which people were involved in car and truck accidents and they did not think they were seriously injured. But it turned out that they had a deadly injury that only came to light much later. Seeking medical treatment will help in many ways. First, it will get you on a path to healing after a diagnosis and treatment plan. Second, it will help your case. The more treatment and proof of the extent of your injury, the better it will be for the successful outcome of your case.
Hire an experienced lawyer. Not all lawyers are the same. You will want a lawyer who focuses their practice on these kinds of cases and knows what it takes to fight for the rights of their clients. The lawyer you choose should have the knowledge, skills, and resources to take on tough hit and run cases.
Norristown Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., Successfully Represent Clients in Hit and Run Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a hit and run driver, reach out to the Norristown car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and will hold the parties responsible for your personal injuries accountable for their actions. Call us at 267-861-7100 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.