A hit-and-run car accident can happen to anyone, and they can be frustrating and confusing to handle. While the process is similar to that of a car accident, many people are still unsure about what to do after a hit-and-run. Whether you’re the victim of a hit-and-run or simply a bystander wondering how to help, check out these steps to follow after a hit-and-run accident.
Call 911 for Medical Help
After a hit-and-run accident, you should assess yourself and any passengers for injuries that need immediate attention. If anyone suffered an injury, call 911 or ask a bystander to make a call on your behalf before doing anything else. If anyone, including yourself, seems to be in shock, this also needs to be reported and assessed. This enables law enforcement to provide or send the correct medical care to the accident scene.
Gather & Record Accident Information
When experiencing a car accident, it’s easy to forget important details that will be necessary for filing a hit-and-run insurance claim. Make sure to write down any information you collect and take photos of vehicle damage so the accident details aren’t lost. When reporting a hit-and-run, key information you should write down about the at-fault driver and their vehicle includes:
- License plate number
- Make, model, color, and year of the vehicle
- Description of hit-and-run damage to the vehicle
- Description of the driver
- Direction they went when fleeing
You should also record particular information about your personal vehicle and experience, including:
- Photos or a description of the damage your vehicle sustained
- Photos or a description of the car accident scene
- Location, date, time, and cause of your hit-and-run car accident
Collect Witness Accounts & Contact Information
If there are witnesses to your hit-and-run car accident, it’s important to communicate with them about what they saw. A hit-and-run witness could be an onlooker, driver, or nearby business owner or patron who saw any part of the hit-and-run accident. After identifying possible witnesses, ask if they would be willing to give a statement to the police when you report the hit-and-run. Additionally, you should take down witnesses’ contact information in case law enforcement or the insurance company needs additional details.
File a Police Report
After you have assessed your safety and spoken with witnesses, you should report the hit-and-run and file a police report. An official vehicle accident report can aid police while they search for the offending driver. After the responding officer makes a report, be sure to ask for a copy to have on hand for your auto insurance company and for your own records. Many no-fault claims require hit-and-run car accidents and damage to be reported to the police within 24 hours.
Inform Your Auto Insurance Company
After the scene is secure and you’re able to leave the area, contact your auto insurer and file a car insurance claim. If possible, file a claim the same day as your hit-and-run accident. Hit-and-run claims can often be filed within 30 days, but contacting your auto insurance company as early as possible can help keep your memories of the incident complete and accurate. You may be asked to wait for authorization before pursuing vehicle repairs, but after reporting a hit-and-run, your insurance company will take care of filing and following your claim.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, including hit-and-run car accidents, Dyer Law is your trusted partner for legal resources for vehicle accidents.