Being struck and injured by a negligent driver is bad enough, but it becomes extremely frustrating when the at-fault person drives off without stopping. Hit and run car accidents happen all the time. There are many reasons why someone might flee an accident scene, whether the negligent driver is scared after an accident, they are confused, they do not have insurance, or they are afraid they might get arrested. Whatever the reason, it is the wrong thing to do. An experienced car accident lawyer will have suggestions of what to do after being involved in a hit and run accident. Doing the right things after a hit and run accident will help minimize issues in the case and will help in recovering fair and reasonable compensation for any personal injury.
Record Information about the At-Fault Car
The best way to solve the problem of a hit and run accident is to find out information about the negligent driver. Obtaining that information so it can be given to the police is the first step in holding the person responsible. This is the only way to find out what insurance, if any, was covering the other vehicle so that any injuries and property damage might be covered and compensated for by that insurance company. As much information should be gathered as possible about the other vehicle, but this should not put any more people in danger in doing so. Here are some things to do, and some things to not do:
- Obviously, the first thing to do is call 911 as quickly as possible so that first responders can get to the scene as soon as possible to help and treat anyone who may be injured.
- If possible, someone should take photos of the at-fault car and driver, particularly the license plate.
- If photographs are not possible, drivers should remember everything possible about the vehicle. It is important to write down the color, make, model, and license plate number. Note any particular things different about the vehicle that stands out, such as distinctive paint and markings, damage to the vehicle, tinted windows, or bumper stickers.
- Drivers should not leave the scene of the accident and attempt to chase after the vehicle. First, leaving the scene of an accident is a punishable offense. Second, by chasing after the vehicle, it is possible that other people might become injured in a secondary collision. Also, by moving the vehicles, evidence might be altered and it might be difficult to determine how the accident happened.
- The police should be called as soon as possible to get officers on the scene so that an investigation can start as quickly as possible.
- Talk to any witnesses to see if they have any information about the at-fault vehicle or driver and write that information down.
- It is important to take note of any security cameras around the area of the accident, such as stop light cameras, store or commercial property security cameras, even private home security cameras such as the popular doorbell cameras. The investigating police officer should know of whatever cameras that might have recorded the accident.
Gather Evidence for the Case
Evidence should be gathered to help the case and help obtain the rightful compensation for any injuries. The more evidence that can be secured, the more help there will be for a car accident lawyer to help win the damages that are justified. Since almost everyone now has a smartphone in their pocket with a built-in camera and video, it is important to take pictures of everything, including the following:
- Take pictures of property damage to the vehicles.
- Take pictures and video of the scene of the accident, including the placement of the damaged vehicle or vehicles before they are moved and taken away. The placement of the vehicles after the accident can help an accident reconstruction expert recreate the incident and help determine what happened and who was at fault.
- Make sure to include pictures of any pieces of the damaged vehicles in the roadway such as brake lights or pieces of the fenders.
- Take pictures of any skid marks on the road and their location in relation to the impact.
- Take pictures and video of any traffic control signs or devices, especially if the accident was caused by the negligent driver running a stop light or stop sign.
Someone should speak to any witnesses and get their information such as names, address, phone number, and email address. An experienced car accident lawyer will want to obtain recorded statements from any witnesses as soon as possible so that their memories of the accident will be fresh in their minds. In some cases, it takes a long time to file a lawsuit, and many months or even years might go by before any depositions of witnesses are taken. Witness memories might fade over that period. It is best to obtain recorded statements soon after the incident to be used later to refresh people’s memories.
Report the Accident to the Insurance Company
Even if the property damage is not that great, the driver should report the accident and any damage and personal injuries to their insurance company. Even if the accident was caused by someone else’s reckless driving, having a report filed with the automobile insurance company will help. In many cases, the insurance company might marshal its considerable resources and help the police locate the at-fault driver who illegally left the scene of an accident. This will certainly help the goal of being compensated for any personal injuries suffered.
Also, the insurance company will be able to help with any initial medical bills related to treatment caused by the accident. Everyone’s automobile insurance policy usually has a small amount of medical coverage available to them no matter who was at fault in the accident. This coverage will help pay for initial treatment, especially if there is no separate health insurance available.
Seek Medical Care
Anyone who was injured in the car accident should seek medical care immediately. Obviously, victims should not delay going to the emergency room or making a doctor’s appointment. The sooner treatment is started, the sooner the healing can start. Also, if there are personal injuries, seeking immediate medical care will demonstrate that the issues are serious in nature. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to use the medical records to demonstrate the extent of the injuries, the extent of the treatment, and argue for the most compensation legally possible. Without proof of injuries and the appropriate treatment, the insurance company will not take the claim seriously and will not offer very much money for damages.
Hire a Good Car Accident Lawyer
Some people think that they do not need a lawyer and can deal with the insurance companies themselves. They think why pay a lawyer when they can attempt to negotiate a fair settlement themselves. However, without an experienced car accident lawyer fighting on the victim’s side, the insurance company will not take the case seriously and will not offer a fair settlement. An experienced car accident lawyer will know the value of the case and be able to fight for a fair settlement. A law firm that focuses their practice on representing people injured in car and truck accidents will have significant resources to help find a negligent hit and run driver. A good car accident lawyer will know what to do with investigating the case, locating the negligent driver, and holding them and their insurance company responsible for any injuries.
Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Fight for the Rights of Injured Clients in Hit and Run Car Accidents
If you have suffered serious personal injuries caused by the negligence of a hit and run driver, the Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Ellis Law are available to help you and to answer all your questions. We will use our experience to investigate the accident and help the police find the at-fault hit and run driver so that they and their insurance company can be held responsible. We will fight for fair personal injury damages to help compensate you and your family for any unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.