If I’m the Victim of a Hit-and-Run, What Can I Do?
While nobody wants to be involved in an accident of any type, hit-and-run incidents present specific challenges for victims. These incidents often result in serious injuries and damages and, in many cases, a driver is never caught after the crash. If you or a loved one have been injured in a hit-and-run crash, there are steps you can take to ensure you are compensated for what happened.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run
If you are involved in a hit-and-run, taking the following steps will help the police as well as your insurance claim:
- No matter what, do not pursue a fleeing driver. You are required to stay at the scene of the crash. Instead, try to remember as much information you can about the vehicle that fled, including:
- What the driver looked like
- The license plate number
- The vehicle’s make, model, and color
- Which direction the vehicle went
- Call 911 and report the incident. Check on everyone still at the scene and help anyone who has been injured.
- If you have been seriously injured, let EMS take you to the hospital for treatment. Even if you do not feel much pain, seek medical attention immediately or soon after you leave the crash scene. The signs and symptoms of some crash injuries do not appear for hours or days following a crash.
- If you have a phone with a camera, start taking pictures of everything. Document any remaining vehicles and damages, any injuries, traffic and weather conditions, and more.
- Speak to any eyewitnesses to the scene. If someone was able to get a good description of the other driver or vehicle, get their make and contact information. Ask them to speak to the police.
- Let your insurance company know what happened. You are required to report most accidents to your insurance carrier within a reasonable amount of time. Check your policy to see if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This is not a mandatory insurance requirement but will come in handy in a hit-and-run situation. In cases where a hit-and-run driver is caught by the police, they often do not have insurance.
- Continue to seek medical care. Follow up on all treatment plans recommended by your doctor until you are fully recovered in order to receive the maximum compensation for your case.
Speak To An Attorney
You should speak with a Seattle hit and run attorney as soon as possible after a crash, whether the hit-and-run driver is caught or not. An attorney can offer a free consultation of your case and advise you of the best path to take moving forward. You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to receive compensation (if the driver is caught).
How Often Do Hit and Run Accidents Occur?
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were more than 737,000 total hit-and-run crashes across the country during the latest reporting year in the US. As a result of those incidents, more than 2,000 people lost their lives, and thousands more were injured. In Washington, we know that there were more than 116,000 total crashes according to the latest year of data available from the state Department of Transportation. Many of those were the result of a hit-and-run incident.