What You Should Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident

Being involved in a hit and run accident can be a traumatic and disorienting experience. The sudden shock of the collision combined with the realization that the other driver has fled the scene can leave you feeling vulnerable and unsure of what to do next. However, taking immediate and thoughtful actions can help protect your health, your rights, and your ability to recover damages. Here’s a detailed guide on what to do if you’re the victim of a hit and run accident.

1. Ensure Your Safety and Check for Injuries

Your immediate priority after any accident is to ensure your safety and the safety of any passengers. If your vehicle is still operational, move it to a safe location away from traffic to prevent further incidents. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Once you’re in a safe spot, check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s important to seek medical attention as some injuries might not be immediately apparent due to shock or adrenaline. Ask around the bystanders if someone has a first aid kit from First Aid Calgary to assist the victims until the EMS arrives.

2. Call the Police

Report the hit and run to the police as soon as possible. Provide them with all the details you remember about the incident, including the make, model, color, and any part of the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle, if possible. The police will document the incident, which is crucial for any future insurance claims or legal actions. Make sure to obtain a copy of the police report or the report number for reference.

3. Gather Evidence at the Scene

While waiting for the police to arrive, gather as much evidence as you can. Use your smartphone to take photos and videos of the scene, your vehicle’s damage, any skid marks, debris, and the surrounding area. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information and request that they stay to give a statement to the police. Witness accounts can be invaluable in reconstructing the accident and identifying the responsible party.

4. Document Your Injuries and Medical Treatment

If you are injured, document your injuries with photographs and keep detailed records of all medical treatments you receive. This includes doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, and any other related expenses. These records will be essential when filing an insurance claim or seeking compensation through legal channels.

5. Notify Your Insurance Company

Inform your insurance company about the hit and run accident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the details you’ve gathered, including the police report number, photos, and witness information. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be covered under uninsured motorist coverage, which can help pay for your medical expenses and vehicle repairs. Be honest and thorough in your report to ensure a smooth claims process.

6. Seek Legal Advice

Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney, especially if you’ve sustained significant injuries or if there is substantial property damage. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities of a hit and run case and can assist in pursuing compensation from your insurance company or through other legal avenues. For those in specific areas, hit and run lawyers or other local experts can provide specialized advice and support.

7. Follow Up with Law Enforcement

Stay in touch with the police department handling your case. Provide any additional information that may come to light and inquire about the progress of their investigation. Sometimes, surveillance footage or witness tips can lead to the identification of the fleeing driver. Persistent follow-up can help ensure your case remains a priority.

8. Consider Emotional and Psychological Support

Being involved in a hit and run accident can have emotional and psychological effects. It’s normal to feel anxiety, anger, or distress after such an event. Consider seeking support from a mental health professional to help you process the incident and cope with any lingering trauma. Support groups for accident victims can also provide a sense of community and understanding.

Additional Tips:

Stay Calm and Avoid Confrontation: If you do see the fleeing driver stop nearby, do not confront them. Instead, note their location and any additional details you can gather and inform the police.

Keep Detailed Records: Maintain a detailed file of all documents related to the accident, including police reports, medical bills, insurance correspondence, and any legal paperwork. This organization will be crucial if you need to reference these documents later.

Review Your Insurance Policy: Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy’s terms and coverage. Understanding your policy can help you know what to expect and advocate for your rights effectively.

Conclusion

Being the victim of a hit and run accident is a daunting experience, but knowing the steps to take can help you manage the situation more effectively. Prioritizing safety, gathering evidence, and seeking professional assistance are key actions that can help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially. Remember, the decisions you make in the aftermath of the accident can significantly impact your ability to obtain justice and compensation. Stay calm, act decisively, and lean on available resources to guide you through this challenging time.

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