A hit and run accident occurs when a driver causes an accident and immediately flees the scene. Hit and run accidents can mean serious or fatal injuries for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. Below is an outline of the steps to take if you have been injured in a hit and run accident.
- Seek medical attention – Your first priority is to secure emergency medical attention if required. If you don’t require emergency attention, see a doctor very soon after the accident, even if your injuries are seemingly minor. Many serious injuries – such as disabling neck injuries – take hours, days or even weeks to manifest.
- Get as much information about the other driver as possible – As soon as you are able, write down or otherwise record as many identifying characteristics about the driver and accident as possible. License plate numbers are very important, but don’t overlook other details, such as year and make of the car as well as the color of the vehicle and any distinguishing characteristics (such as a large spoiler or a dented fender). Another important detail includes which part of the vehicle struck you or your vehicle – this may help police target, for instance, “white, late-model Toyota sedans with possible damage to the left side of the hood.”
- Contact police – Make sure you contact the police as soon as possible after a hit and run accident. Cooperate to the best of your abilities in providing details about the vehicle and driver involved in your accident. Be sure to file an official accident report with the relevant authorities and secure a copy of the report as soon as you are able.
- Secure witness contact information – To the best of your ability, secure the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. This information can help police track the hit-and-run driver and may prove useful if you file an accident claim or lawsuit at a later date.
- Preserve all evidence of the accident – Secure and preserve any potential evidence associated with the hit and run accident. This includes the clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident, damaged personal items, and the damaged vehicle or bicycle. Also be sure to maintain all hospital bills, medical records, photographs of the accident scene, police reports and any other relevant details.
- Review your auto insurance policy – Florida’s no-fault insurance laws allow victims to recover compensation for injuries regardless of fault and up to the limits of their policy. Your auto insurance policy may include uninsured motorist protection, which helps cover expenses incurred if you are unable to locate the negligent driver who caused your injuries, and other coverage.
- Be wary of what you say to insurance adjusters – Be careful about what you say to insurance adjusters about your injuries. Give basic facts about what happened, but do not elaborate on the nature of your injuries without first consulting a personal injury attorney.
- Contact a personal injury attorney – An attorney can help you to pursue fair compensation in an accident claim or lawsuit. A lawyer can help you understand the details of your auto insurance policy and all available avenues for financial recovery.
Need help after a hit and run accident? Contact our family-focused personal injury law firm at (855) 529-0269.