The first few minutes after a car accident can be overwhelming. When you discover the other driver has fled the scene, the situation can become that much more stressful. As a hit-run-victim, it’s important to understand what to do immediately following an accident. Taking the proper steps to ensure you take care of your health, make the proper reports, and document important information will help you down the line when you’re trying to seek compensation for your losses related to the accident.
Stay Where You Are
After a hit-and-run, you might have the urge to go after the driver that hit you. This is never a good idea. For one, there’s no way to know the extent of your injuries or how damaged your vehicle is. Chasing the other driver down could also put you in a dangerous situation and compromise your chances for receiving the compensation you need to recover.
Instead, stay where you are. If you can, move your vehicle out of the road. If you can’t, put your four-way hazard lights on to warn other drivers of your location and immobile status. If it’s nighttime and you have a flashlight or flares, it’s a good idea to light them and place them behind your vehicle. Traffic will have an easier time seeing you and will be able to slow down in time to avoid creating another accident.
Prioritize Your Health
Immediately following an accident, you might feel physically fine. There are injuries, however, that can take time to develop to the point that you notice them. You could also be experiencing shock, during which your body might not register pain. With a minor accident, you may be able to schedule a point with your primary care physician. If, however, you were in a serious collision, you’ll need help right away. If you’re able to, call 911 and request emergency medical attention. If you’re unable to call, a witness or someone nearby may be able to make the call for you.
Once the paramedics arrive, tell them what you can remember about the crash and about any pain you might be experiencing. Depending on your condition, they may be able to treat you at the scene or you may have to travel to the emergency room. Seeking medical attention will ensure you are evaluated, diagnosed, and given a treatment plan. It will also aid with your claim because the insurance company will know your injuries are valid and you deserve compensation.
Report the Hit-and-Run
If medical attention is arriving at the scene of your hit-and-run, it’s likely that law enforcement will also show up. The police officers will want to interview you about what happened. Tell them what you remember happening. Never apologize or discuss fault, as this can implicate you later. Just tell them the facts, including when and where the accident happened, and any information you can give them about the other driver. Any information may be helpful – the color, make, or model of the vehicle or even a partial license plate.
Officers will also interview possible witnesses, examine the accident scene and the damage to your vehicle, and determine if there is any surveillance footage in the area. They will file an official report that the insurance company will look at later. During this time, if you’re able to, take photographs of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, and your injuries. These will come in handy later.
Prepare Yourself for What Comes Next
While a car accident only takes mere seconds to start and end, dealing with the ramifications and consequences could take weeks or months – especially with a hit-and-run wreck. Through all the commotion, remember that you have options and you are not alone. With the help of the right attorney, you can recover quickly and get your life back in order.
Having an idea of what comes next may be helpful to some. After you’ve taken care of your medical needs and spoken with police, your next step is to get in touch with your insurance company. If the police are able to locate the negligent driver, you may be dealing with their insurance company. Negotiations can be tricky, especially if the other driver cannot be found. Seeking representation from a lawyer will ensure you are not talked out of the compensation that’s rightfully yours.
Dealing with the consequences of a hit-and-run accident can be difficult, especially when you’re coping with physical injuries. The lawyers from Shrager & Sachs in Philadelphia have the experience and knowledge needed to handle the difficult conversations and paperwork for you. If you’re ready to take action and hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions, schedule a meeting with us today.