The moments after an auto accident can be extremely chaotic. Under the best of circumstances, you are likely to be disoriented, confused, possibly injured, and very upset. The situation can be made even worse if the other driver—especially if he or she caused the accident—suddenly drives off, leaving you literally in the middle of road, responsible for cleaning up the mess. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law, but as the victim of a hit-and-run accident, recovering the damages caused is probably more important to you than criminal prosecution.
Quickly Regain Composure
As it becomes clear to you that the driver who caused the accident has fled the scene, it is important to take control of the situation, if possible. Try to clear your head and do your best to postpone the inevitable flood of anger and resentment. There will be time for an emotional response later, but in the moment you need to gather as much information as you can quickly. If you have been seriously injured, try to communicate the situation to police or responders so that they can take appropriate action on your behalf.
Write Down What You Remember
Before getting out of your car (unless you are in a particularly precarious situation), try to recall as much as you can about the vehicle that hit you. Do not attempt to follow the other driver; leaving the scene can cause even more problems for you. Make a written note or use your cell phone to record a voice memo. Remember what you saw as the accident occurred and as the driver fled. Attempt to answer questions including:
- What color was the vehicle? Was it a car, pickup truck, SUV, or van?
- Could you see the driver? Was it a man or a woman?
- What logo was on the grille? If not the specific brand, what shape was the emblem?
- What color was the license plate? Was it from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, or another state? Did you remember any particular letters or numbers?
- What direction was the driver traveling before and after the accident?
Call the Police
Once you have reached the point where you can communicate clearly, make sure the police have been notified and that the dispatcher was made aware that the situation appears to be a hit-and-run. While waiting for the police to arrive, get yourself and your vehicle to a safe location out of the path of traffic.
Continue recording details of the accident, including time, date, and location. Using your cell phone camera or other device, take photographs of the site, your injuries, and your vehicle. Look closely at damaged areas of your car, surrounding property, or even accident debris on the street to determine more about the hit-and-run vehicle. Flecks of paint, pieces of bumper, and broken glass can all provide clues to law enforcement and insurance investigators.
File a Police Report and Insurance Claim
When the police arrive, provide them will all of the information you collected, but keep a copy for yourself. Help the responding officer compile a clear, comprehensive account of what occurred. Likewise, contact your insurance company and file a hit-and-run claim. It is in the insurance company’s interest to help you find the responsible party, so your information can be particularly valuable.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
While the police can file a report and the insurance company can try to avoid making large payouts, only a qualified lawyer will be dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve after a hit-and-run accident. When you have been the victim of a hit-and-run, you need legal counsel who will help you identify the responsible party and hold him or her fully accountable for your injuries and damages. Contact the experienced Hartford personal injury attorneys at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC. Our knowledgeable team will fight for your rights at every turn and help you put your life back together after a hit-and-run accident. Call [[phone1]] for a confidential consultation today.