Protect Your Rights with Our Step-by-Step List
If you need to know the steps to take after a hit-and-run accident, then you may already be aware of the many questions that can come from an awful situation. In our previous post on accident claims, one of the proactive steps mentioned was the importance of recording information. To the law office of Summers & Associates, this critical step is only the beginning.
There are a number of other actions to take after a hit-and-run accident, so let’s review them. Gathering as many details as you can is important, of course. We offer one general caution in the event of a hit-and-run car accident: Do not give details to either the insurance company or the police without speaking with a lawyer first or having a lawyer present, regardless of who is at fault.
Different Hit-and-Run Scenarios Can Mean Taking Different Action
Take a look at some possible hit-and-run scenarios. The actions you need to take would depend on the details of your particular hit-and-run accident. Consider these scenarios:
1. Your car was hit from behind while parked, either while you were in a store or overnight while you slept. But the driver of the other vehicle was able to drive away and left no note with their insurance information.
2. You were driving down the road and another vehicle hit yours. Before you could stop or get out to survey the damage, the other vehicle drove away in a hurry.
3. As you were driving, another car in the next lane sideswiped yours. They then kept driving as though nothing happened.
4. You were on your bike (or motorcycle), and a car did not see you. They hit you and you saw them, but rather than stop, they just drove away.
Know the Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Here are steps to take if someone hits your vehicle and drives away:
1. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Call 911 for emergency services, or ask a bystander to call for help. If necessary, move to the side of the road or onto a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive but causing a hazard where it is, pull it over to the side of the road. Use any safety/warning devices in your vehicle, such as cones, triangles, or road flares to warn other drivers to slow down. Otherwise, leave the car where it is, and get yourself to safety.
2. Once help is on the way, start to write down information and any details you recall about the accident. Start with the location, road, or address. Do you recall the time, nearest cross-street, off-ramp, mile marker, or other signs or landmarks? Write down details about the other vehicle, such as type, make, model, color, doors, and any markings on the body or tires. Do you recall any of the license plate? Even remembering part of it can help investigators.
3. Find out if there are any witnesses. Ask to see if anyone was nearby and saw what occurred. If you do find witnesses, write down their contact information (name, phone number, and email), so the police or an insurance company can get in touch with them.
4. Take photos of the scene where the collision took place. Include photos of any damage to your vehicle. If you do not have a way to photograph, make a sketch by hand. Note damages on any other vehicles or property. There may be some transfer of paint from the vehicle that hit yours. Take photos, or include details of broken parts or other noticeable items in your surroundings.
A Few More Important Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run
5. Speak with an experienced hit-and-run accident attorney before giving any statements to police or an insurance company. The attorney may provide general advice on how to phrase statements to others in order to protect your rights. The attorney may also need to inspect your vehicle prior to making any repairs, and may ask you to keep an injury diary, if needed.
6. Once the police make a report of the hit-and-run, ask for the reference number of the incident report. If the officer states the damage is too minor to report, write down the officer’s name, badge number, and phone number. Share this information with your attorney and insurance company, so the insurance company can follow up.
7. If there is no prior police interaction, be sure to report the hit-and-run accident to the police within 24 hours. A hit-and-run is considered a crime, and it is important to report it as soon as possible. Failing to report the incident to police may lead your insurance company to label it an “at fault” loss. This could have an impact on your premium.
8. Next, get in touch with your local insurance broker or the insurance company’s claim line to report the hit-and-run to them. They may ask for an estimate of damages and may refer you to a local garage, auto repair, or body shop for this estimate. Your attorney can guide you on the type of information to provide.
More on Insurance Matters and Hit-and-Run Accidents
The collision coverage of your auto insurance policy generally pays for vehicle damage due to a hit-and-run. However, this coverage is optional for many drivers. For those without collision coverage, the operator does have to pay for repairs themselves. AllState Insurance offers additional advice for drivers after a car accident.
If the hit-and-run accident does involve injury to you or your passengers, you may have additional insurance-related questions as to who pays for medical care, and more. This is another reason why it is important to get sound advice from an attorney. Gathering information and maintaining a file of all accident-related notes and materials can help with your recovery efforts.
Turn to Summers & Associates After a Hit-and-Run Accident
When you need to speak with an experienced lawyer after a hit-and-run accident in the Parkersburg area, call Summers & Associates. We serve residents of West Virginia and Ohio who need sound accident advice. Our expertise covers accident and injury matters in both states, so let us help you navigate the many aspects of your particular hit-and-run matter.
Summers & Associates is a law firm serving clients in the region of Parkersburg, WV, for personal injury, criminal, and family law matters. Call our office today at (304) 420-0975, or contact us anytime via live chat on our website to review hit-and-run accident steps and more.