Being a victim of a hit-and-run car accident is very frustrating and not something anyone expects when they begin their day. It is important to understand the best way to handle the situation just in case this unfortunate event happens to you. The goal of this article is to give some quick tips on how to handle a hit-and-run car accident, as well as some ‘Do’s and Don'ts’ when becoming victim to this horrific circumstance.
Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t - Chase the Fleeing Car
Directly after you have been in an accident and the driver flees the scene, your first inclination might be to follow the driver. It is important to understand that you should never leave the scene of the car accident to chase the person that has committed the hit-and-run. There are several reasons for this that we will delve into below.
The main reason to not leave the scene is so that when the police arrive they know that you are not at fault and they can see clearly where the accident occurred. This will help your case tremendously because the police officer will know when and where the accident happened and will also be able to gather other information that you or any other eyewitnesses were able to supply.
Another reason to not go after the person that hit your car is because they could be dangerous. If someone is fleeing a car accident, they could be hostile and willing to do anything in their power to make sure that they are not caught. The safest course of action is to stay in place and avoid that unnecessary conflict. Focus on gathering as much information as you can and let law enforcement handle the fugitive.
Do - Call the Police
In this situation, law enforcement is the key to capturing the person that damaged your vehicle and ultimately getting the compensation that you deserve for damages and suffering. If someone has been injured, call 911 immediately, otherwise call the non-emergency phone number.
When the police officer arrives you will need to tell them the order of events in which they occurred as well as any other information that you have gathered since the incident. This will help them put together a comprehensive police report that will benefit your case. It would be a good idea to take pictures of damage, take notes immediately after the accident, and if possible take a picture of their vehicle as they are driving away, preferably with the license plate visible.
Do - Use Witnesses
Eyewitnesses can be a huge asset for you in a hit-and-run situation. Another set of eyes confirming information to the police officer will give them optimism that you are telling the truth and hopefully they can help provide any other information that you may have missed, such as what the driver looked like, what car they were driving, and if there were any passengers in the vehicle. If you see that someone witnessed the accident, ask them to stay and help relay any information that they have to the police officer. Also be sure to obtain their contact information just in case you need to contact them in the future about your case.
Do - Gather Information
As previously discussed above, it is vital that you gather information for law enforcement and the insurance company. The more information that you can give to these two respective parties, the more they will be able to help you. Useful information that should be documented for your case includes the getaway vehicle's license plate number, the make and model of the getaway car, information on how each vehicle was damaged, as well as a step by step story-line of the accident.
Do - Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Lastly, you will want to report the hit-and-run accident to your insurance company. This is the only way that you can receive compensation for the damages of your vehicle. Because the other party fled the scene, you will have to pay the deductible for collision coverage, but all damages should be covered and your insurance premiums will not go up since you were not at fault.
Hire Barfoot and Schoettker
Being involved in a hit-and-run car accident is a very unfortunate, frustrating event. Being equipped with knowledge on how to handle the situation will make the entire process much less stressful and will hopefully result in full compensation in a timely manner.
If you have not received the compensation that you deserve for a car accident, we would love to schedule a free consultation to determine the best course of action moving forward. Here at Barfoot and Schoettker, we take pride in helping our clients throughout the entire legal process. If you are in the Montgomery, Alabama area, please give us a call at (334) 834-3444 or visit our website.