Statistics show the average adult will be in three to four accidents in their lifetime. It is always good to be prepared for events like this, but what happens if the other driver flees the scene?
Unfortunately, these types of accidents happen more often than most people realize. In the state of Virginia, hit and run accidents are any accidents where one of the drivers leaves the scene without providing contact information.
The driver who flees the scene of an accident could be charged with felony hit and run when there is personal injury. If someone hits your parked car, and you return to find your car damaged with no contact information, this would be considered misdemeanor hit and run.
1. Pull Over For Your Safety
It is best to immediately pull over after the accident. In the initial shock of the accident, you are not going to know the full extent of damage to your vehicle. Even if the damage doesn’t seem all that bad, it is quite possible your car will be undriveable, and you cannot accurately determine your damages until you stop the automobile.
Often, one of the mistakes people make is to chase after the other driver who doesn’t stop. Never chase after the other driver.
2. Ensure You Are Not Injured
Once you are safely at a stop, you need to make sure you are okay. Don’t think about your car first. Are YOU okay? This will give you a chance to calm down and collect yourself before worrying about the details of your accident. If you have any injuries, dial 911 to get help as quickly as possible. If there are witnesses, have them call 911 on your behalf.
3. Report the Accident to the Police
Once you have assessed your physical well-being, the next step is to speak to the authorities. Provide all of the details about your accident:
- Location of the Accident
- The direction the other driver was heading
- A description of the other vehicle
- Details of the accident
- Names of Any Witnesses at the Scene
4. Gather Evidence, Take Photos, and Talk to the Witnesses
The police may help collect evidence for your accident claim.
One of the keys to this step of the process is to not be shy. Talk to everyone at the scene to find out if they saw anything. Any person who witnessed the crash may have vital information that is key to tracking down the hit and run driver.
You also want to take photos of your vehicle and the accident scene. Witnesses will help corroborate your story. Look for any debris on the roadway and the damage to your own automobile, as this may provide some clues about the make and model of the other car.
5. Contact the Insurance Company
Once you have collected all of the evidence you need, the next step is to report the accident to your insurance carrier. Call the insurance company as soon as possible, while everything is still fresh in your mind. Some of the information your insurance company needs includes:
- Details about your claim
- Policy number
- Police case number
- Location of your vehicle
Make sure to write down the claim number and name of the agent handling your claim.
6. Get Medical Care If Needed
When the ambulance arrives at the scene, the medical personnel may recommend going to the hospital to be evaluated. This is a crucial step in the accident process. EMTs are trained to evaluate patients after a car accident, and they may be able to tell something is wrong even when you think you are okay.
It is important to be evaluated by a medical professional when dealing with personal injury claims. Some injuries may not be apparent in the first few moments after a car accident, but a physician could determine if you have any additional injuries at the hospital. Proper documentation is key when it comes to personal injury claims.
What Happens Now?
Unfortunately, in many cases, the hit and run driver is never caught, and you may have to go through your own insurance company to cover your property and medical expenses after an accident.
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is tough enough, but it complicates matters when the other driver flees from the scene. Hiring an attorney to help navigate the legal process after a hit and run accident can help streamline the process and help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.
If you are dealing with the aftermath of a hit and run accident, Epperly & Follis, P.C. wants to help. It is always a good idea to consult an attorney after an accident, and especially a hit and run accident.
Contact Epperly & Follis for a free consultation at 1-888-703-0109 or (804) 648-6480, or contact us through our Contact Form.