Being involved in a vehicle collision is incredibly frightening and can be a confusing situation to navigate, especially right after it happens. But what do you do when you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident?
This only makes the ordeal even more complicated, frustrating, and scary. You become overwhelmed by questions you aren’t entirely sure how to answer.
Who is liable for the accident? Who will pay for your medical expenses and auto repairs? Will your insurance cover anything, since the other person fled the scene?
Before you get ahead of yourself, take a deep breath and recognize that this is not something you have to handle on your own. We’re here to describe a few of the essential steps to take after you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident.
What is Considered a Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when at least one person who was involved in the incident leaves the scene without providing any personal information to the others, does not offer any assistance to the others before taking off, or does not report the collision to the authorities.
Laws vary based on which state the incident has taken place in. However, in most localities, leaving the scene of an accident, regardless of whether it was your fault or not, is illegal.
Safety Is Number One
First and foremost, the safety of everyone involved in the accident is the top priority. This includes yourself.
There can be varying degrees of severity in a hit-and-run incident. Check to make sure everyone who was involved and make sure they are okay. Then you can proceed to call 911.
Collect All the Information
Unfortunately, in many hit-and-run incidents, you may not have gotten an opportunity to collect the other person’s or persons’ contact and insurance information. You’ll want to document every aspect of the accident you possibly can.
This includes the car make and model, license plate if you were able to get it, as well as which direction the car headed when it drove away.
Try to write down any details about the other person(s) and the vehicle as you can recall, as soon as possible. It can be easy, especially in a heated situation such as this, to forget some of the essential details even just an hour or so after the incident.
File a Police Report
Once the authorities have arrived on the scene, you should follow their protocol to file a police report. Don’t forget to write down the case number assigned by the police, and obtain a copy of the police report. Your insurance company will appreciate receiving as much information as possible, particularly the police report.
Call Your Insurance Company
After the police report has been taken and you are back to safety, you’ll want to contact your insurance company and file a claim. Typically, you’ll have up to 30 days to file it, but it’s best practice to file a claim the same day the police report was filed.
Your policy, and which state the accident occurred in, will largely determine how much coverage you’ll receive. This includes damage to the vehicle, personal injuries, hospital stay, or any other compensation you may want to be compensated, especially if you are unable to work for a while.
Thankfully, there are ways to be able to pay for some of these expenses while sorting out the legal details of your finances. Hit-and-run accident pre-settlement legal funding can help pay for ongoing bills due to injuries you sustained from the accident since it wasn’t your fault.
It’s all right if you don’t know all the proper steps to take. A hit-and-run accident isn’t fair to the victim who has to handle the repercussions of the event, and gets left with having to deal with a difficult situation.
We always suggest that such a person speak with a professional lawyer to ensure you get properly covered for any and all damages that might be owed to you.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze