According to the law, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident before the police arrive. All drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents should stop at the scene without obstructing traffic. Accidents are always traumatic, and it gets worse if you are dealing with a hit-and-run driver, especially if you or your passengers are injured. When you find yourself in such a situation, you have to be keen on some things that can help you down the road.
What to do After the Accident
The first major step is to seek medical assistance if you or your passengers are injured. Safety and health should always come first. After ensuring that everyone else involved in the accident is safe, you should observe whether the other driver has any signs of extreme anxiety. Some of the signs to watch out for include not wanting to exchange insurance and driver’s license information or calling the police. Another important thing that you should do is to use your cell phone to take pictures of the other driver’s vehicle registration number.
It’s difficult to determine why another driver would flee the accident scene, but that is the work of law enforcers. You aren’t entitled to restrain or chase down the other driver. However, legal experts recommend taking out your cell phone during the scene of the accident and taking clear pictures that will help you later to document any details that you would forget later on.
In a situation when you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run accident, you are entitled to property, medical and lost wages compensation among many others. However, ensure that you have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner.
What to do After the Other Driver Leaves the Accident Scene
According to a report by the American Automobile Association, an estimated 11% of all vehicle accidents around the country involve drivers fleeing the accident scene. Most victims of hit-and-run vehicle accidents often wonder what they can do to protect their rights. One of the major steps that you can make is to make a police report. Ensure that you file the police report within the first 24 hours after the accident whether at the collision scene or the hospital.
A police report is important to prove that you were involved in an accident and it verifies your claim that the accident happened and the other drivers left the scene. Remember that you will also require the police report for you to get compensated for property damage and injuries sustained during the accident.
In case you are able to provide more helpful information on the other driver such as vehicle registration number and pictures, the police can help you by getting into contact with them. However, the less information you have, the lesser the chances that the other driver will be charged for leaving the scene. If the police are unable to track down the other driver, you have to file a claim with your insurance company under the uninsured motorist coverage if you had it included in your cover. It is important that you consult an experienced vehicle accident attorney to help protect your rights, especially if your claims have been denied or you have been compensated inadequately.
Process Involved After a Driver Leaves the Crash Sight
If the other driver flees the accident scene without sharing his or her information, the law enforcement agents will conduct an investigation after they arrive at the accident scene. They will ask witnesses questions on what happened, and they can check surveillance footage including nearby business cameras and traffic light cameras. In more extensive investigations, the officers may be required to test the paint belonging to the other car that was left on your car after the crash. This will help them to narrow down the color and type of vehicle involved in the accident. The police will also investigate if there was any use of drugs or alcohol during the accident that may have led to the accident. After the police have enough admissible evidence to pinpoint the other driver, they may apprehend him or her at home or workplace.
After the other driver is caught, your attorney will help you file a civil lawsuit for criminal charges against them. Speaking to an experienced auto accident attorney will help you determine whether you will get compensated and the right steps you should take to file a lawsuit.