More than six million car accidents occur each year in the United States, and that number has been rising for years as the number of vehicles on the road continues to grow. While there are different types of crashes and the circumstances surrounding them vary, the number of hit-and-run accidents has surged by nearly 90 percent just over the last decade. Even though it’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident, an ever-growing number of drivers do so because they know they’re at fault and want to avoid being identified.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
This soaring number of hit-and-run accidents leaves thousands of people injured, struggling to find the responsible parties and ensure they’re held accountable. In far too many cases, it leaves the families of those killed in such accidents searching for answers and hoping for justice to be served. If you’re a victim of a hit and run, understanding what to do after this type of crash can improve the chances of reckless drivers who flee the scene being held accountable for their actions.
Being Proactive in Protecting Yourself
Before delving into what to do immediately after a hit-and-run crash, consider an important proactive measure: installing a dash cam. These devices have proven themselves essential in providing evidence in accidents as well as incidents of vandalism and theft. Granted, pedestrians and bicyclists who are involved in hit-and-run accidents may not be able to benefit from dash cams, but vehicle drivers certainly can.
That being said, certain reactive measures can also go a long way toward uncovering a driver who’s responsible for a hit-and-run crash. If you’re able, call 911 as quickly as possible after any type of accident to get emergency responders en route. From there, keep the following points in mind.
Gather Details about the Vehicle and Driver
Hit-and-run accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, so you don’t have much time to react. Still, it’s important to try to gather as many details as possible before driver leaves the scene. Write down details or use your phone to record them via voice, video, or picture. You’ll want to capture the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you as well as its color, make, model, and approximate age. Is it an older car or truck with a square body style or one of the more current, rounded models?
Take note of any other discerning features, too. Did the vehicle have broken headlights or taillights? Were there any dents in its body panels or interesting stickers in its rear windows? Try to get a good look at the driver if possible and determine his or her gender, race, and relative age at the very least.
Collect Evidence at the Scene
Gathering details about the scene of the accident is also crucial. Take pictures or videos of your surroundings, including nearby traffic lights, road signs, and road conditions. Capture the damage done to your vehicle. Ask for contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident and have them write down what they saw. Scan the area for security cameras or vehicles with visible dash cams; they’re everywhere these days. You could even speak with people who live or work near the crash site to find out if they saw anything or are familiar with the vehicle that hit you.
Seeking appropriate medical care is also essential immediately after any type of accident. Don’t refuse medical attention from paramedics, and go to the hospital if necessary. Follow up with your primary physician as well. This will help foster your recovery while also building evidence of your injuries, medical bills, and other expenses stemming from the accident. That’ll be important for filing a claim with your insurance provider or against the driver who hit you if he or she is found.
After gathering as many details and as much evidence as possible regarding the accident and receiving prompt medical attention, consider contacting an attorney. Legal representation can be key when it comes to tracking down hit-and-run drivers and ensuring they’re held responsible for their actions. Although recovering from an accident like this should be your primary concern, seeing that justice is served is also essential.