A hit-and-run accident can be one of the most distressing and challenging situations a driver or pedestrian can face on the road. It's a scenario where another party involved in the accident flees the scene without identifying themselves, leaving you with not only physical and emotional distress but also the daunting task of seeking compensation for your losses.
The Immediate Aftermath: Stay Calm and Safe
The moments immediately following a hit-and-run accident can be chaotic and overwhelming. However, it's crucial to stay as calm as possible and take the following steps:
Ensure Your Safety
First and foremost, check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 for immediate medical assistance. If the accident occurred in a high-traffic area, try to move to a safe location to avoid any further accidents or injuries.
While it's understandable that your immediate concern is safety, if you can do so safely, try to gather as much information as possible about the fleeing vehicle. Note down the make, model, color, and license plate number if you can recall any details. Eyewitnesses can also be invaluable, so ask anyone nearby if they saw what happened and if they can provide a description of the vehicle and driver.
Reporting the Hit-and-Run
Contact the Police
As soon as it's safe to do so, call the police to report the hit-and-run incident. Provide them with all the information you've gathered, including any witness statements. A police report is a crucial document that will be necessary when dealing with insurance companies and pursuing compensation.
Document the Scene
While waiting for the police to arrive, take photos or videos of the accident scene, any damage to your vehicle or property, and any visible injuries. These visuals can serve as valuable evidence later on when making your compensation claim.
Navigating Insurance and Legal Complexities
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, it can be a lifeline in hit-and-run cases. This coverage is designed to compensate you when the at-fault driver is either uninsured or unidentified, which aligns perfectly with hit-and-run scenarios. Contact your insurance company to report the incident and inquire about making a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
Consult an Attorney
Hit-and-run cases can be legally complex, and it may be in your best interest to consult an attorney who specializes in personal injury or motor vehicle accidents. They can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue any legal action against the responsible party if they are identified.
Protecting Your Rights
Be Cautious with Statements
Avoid making any statements or signing documents presented by insurance companies or third parties without consulting your attorney. Insurance adjusters may attempt to minimize your claim, and having legal counsel can help ensure you don't inadvertently harm your case.
Maintain meticulous records of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. These records will be essential when seeking compensation for your losses.
While a hit-and-run accident can leave you feeling helpless and frustrated, it's important to remember that you don't have to face the aftermath alone – there are resources and experts available to help you every step of the way.
Call Fulmer Sill today at (405) 433-7414 if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident. Let us help you obtain the compensation you deserve.