What Should I Do Following a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Leaving the scene of an accident without waiting for the police is not just a violation of law but a serious crime with severe legal repercussions. If the accident results in serious injuries or fatalities and the responsible driver flees, they could face felony charges and a potential prison sentence of up to five years.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit-and-run accidents occur every minute in the United States, which amounts to approximately 682,000 hit-and-run crashes each year. If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, there are steps you can take to ensure that you recover the financial compensation you deserve.

To avoid having to pay for the property damage to your vehicle, the medical expenses associated with your injuries, and other losses, it is essential that you take the following steps in the moments following the accident:

  • Move to a safe spot. If you can do so safely, move your vehicle to a safe area that is away from the flow of traffic. If the other motorist fled the scene, do not chase after the driver. Try to remain calm and gather as much information as possible. For example, if you can obtain information about the make, model, and color of the vehicle as it drives away, this will be very helpful in tracking down the driver, particularly if you can write down or take a picture of the license plate.
  • Call 911. Call the police as soon as possible. When the responding officer arrives, write down their name and badge number. Provide as much detailed information as possible about what happened, sticking only to the facts. Do not embellish or share your opinion about the accident. The more information you can provide about the other vehicle and the other driver, the more likely police will be able to locate the driver.
  • Take detailed notes. In the moments immediately following the accident and before the police arrive, take a moment to assess the damage to your vehicle. If you are physically able to do so, take pictures of the property damage from various angles, as well as any debris or skin marks on the road, the weather, and the exact location of the accident. Write down a detailed account of what happened, including where you were going, where the accident occurred, a detailed description of the other driver, and a description of the other car. This can be beneficial information even if you could only provide a partial license plate number.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. A medical professional must examine you after a car accident. Some injuries may not be obvious right away, particularly when the shock of the accident causes adrenaline to course through the body, masking pain and other symptoms. If you fail to seek medical attention, undiagnosed injuries can become more serious and difficult to treat. In addition, this will likely have a negative impact on a personal injury claim. The insurance company may argue that your injuries must not be severe if you do not find it necessary to seek medical treatment.
  • File a claim with your insurance company. Notify your insurance company that you were injured in a hit-and-run car accident. Provide your insurance agent with a copy of the police report number and the information you collected from the accident scene.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer will assist you with every step of the claims process, negotiate with the insurance company, and help you recover the damages you are entitled to. It is highly recommended that you look for a lawyer with experience handling hit-and-run cases.

What If the Other Driver Cannot Be Located?

In some cases, the hit-and-run driver may not be found. Unfortunately, Georgia ranks fourth in the country for fatal hit-and-run accidents. While this can make the claims process more challenging, you may still have options for recovering compensation. You may obtain a MedPay policy, which pays for treatment costs after an accident. This works faster than your personal health insurance. If you have an uninsured/underinsured driver policy on your insurance, this is meant to provide coverage if you are involved in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance to cover the damages. This also provides coverage if the other driver flees the accident scene. Ideally, this policy will already be in place before the hit-and-run accident happens. However, some insurers will allow you to file a claim after the fact, although coverage may over-apply to property damage and may not cover medical expenses.

Our Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Victims of Hit-and-Run Car Accidents

If you or a loved one was injured in a hit-and-run car accident, it is highly recommended that you contact our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. We understand how traumatic and frustrating these accidents can be, particularly if the other motorist flees the scene and cannot be found. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.