Being involved in a car accident of any kind can be extremely traumatic and leave you feeling shocked and helpless. But when the other party involved in the accident suddenly drives away, you may find yourself feeling even more confused and stunned and wondering what you should do now. If you’re ever the victim of a hit-and-run accident, here are the immediate steps that you should take.
As with any accident, the first priority is getting emergency responders to the scene as soon as possible. If there are injuries, focus on getting emergency medical care to the injured parties, including yourself. When you call, be sure to report that the other party has fled the scene.
It’s extremely important that you don’t leave the scene of the accident. Don’t try to pursue the other driver, even if your vehicle is still functional. This makes you just as guilty of fleeing the scene and can put you in further danger, as your frame of mind won’t be conducive to safe driving.
Write Down What You Remember
If you’re able to, immediately write down or record what you remember about the other vehicle and driver. While you may feel confused and somewhat frazzled immediately after the accident, it’s important that you get any identifying information down while it’s still fresh in your mind. The longer you wait, the more likely you will be to forget what the other car looked like, and the less likely it is that authorities will be able to track them down.
Flag Down Bystanders
Witnesses are essential in establishing fault in any accident, but they are especially important in a hit-and-run accident. Flag down anyone nearby who may have witnessed the accident, and ask them to stay and speak to authorities. While it’s not your place to question the witnesses, asking nearby individuals to stay at the scene can help authorities to find someone who saw the accident, and may be able to identify the individual who fled the scene.
Contact Your Insurance
As with every vehicle accident, you’ll need to contact your car insurance company to report the incident. It’s also advisable to take photos of your damaged vehicle at the scene if you’re physically able to and have a functioning camera. This will make processing your insurance claim much quicker.
Contact an Attorney
Not every accident requires you to contact an auto accident attorney. But in the case of a hit-and-run accident, you absolutely should have the support of an experienced lawyer. In these cases, you are no longer just a party involved in an accident—you are the victim of a crime. Should the fleeing party be found, you have the right to press charges against them and will want a lawyer to help you do so.
In such cases, you can sue for compensation for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and wages for missed work. Additionally, you can receive payment for your personal pain and suffering, and, because fleeing the scene is a crime, you may even be able to receive punitive damages, which are fines added to a court case as a deterrent to prevent the offender from repeating their actions. An attorney can give you a better idea of what kind of settlement you may be able to receive in your hit-and-run case.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, contact an auto accident lawyer in Bradenton, FL, by calling 941-907-1133 today.