In the traumatic moments during and after a car crash, every individual will react differently. Some will sit frozen in fear, some will cry as the reality of the situation sets in, some will begin taking action immediately to determine if anyone is hurt, and, unfortunately, others will choose to flee.
There are many reasons a person might choose to leave the scene of a car accident. They could be in a hurry to get somewhere they deemed urgent, or they could be afraid that the cost of your injuries and vehicle damage would be more than they can afford. The other driver could also be avoiding law enforcement for one reason or another and fled knowing the police would soon arrive. Regardless of their reasoning, being the victim of a hit-and-run accident can leave you feeling defenseless and unsure of where to turn next
Peter N. Davis & Associates is your trusted ally in resolving car accident claims, whether you are in Lodi, Paterson, or any of the surrounding New Jersey communities. We want to arm you with the knowledge you need to pursue your personal injury case. Filing a claim for a hit-and-run accident is a complex legal process that requires a careful hand to ensure no detail is overlooked. If you would like legal advice or support, do not hesitate to contact a representative from our firm. In the meantime, following the steps below will put you ahead of the game and protect you in the upcoming claims process
Contact the Police and Other Emergency Personnel
The first step to take after experiencing a hit-and-run is to call the local police and inform them of the accident. When the emergency responders arrive at the scene, allow yourself and any passengers to be evaluated by the EMTs so that any immediate and obvious injuries can be treated and documented.
It is also important to file a police report, being sure to ask for a copy of the report to keep for yourself that will later serve as evidence for your claim. Try to give any details you can remember about the other driver to the officer as this will help them in their investigation. Do not take the blame for any part of the crash at this time, and avoid trying to place blame as well — just stick to the facts of the accident.
Document the Damage
After making sure that anyone who needs emergency medical treatment has been attended to, begin taking photographs and videos of any and all damage that was done. This includes documenting the damage to your vehicle from multiple angles as well as getting photos of any injuries you or your passengers incurred during the crash. A good rule of thumb is to save these images online to protect them from getting lost before you need them.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Because different insurance policies have different deadlines for reporting car accidents, it’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, typically within 72 hours. This is NOT the same as filing your claim, this is simply a way to make them aware of the accident so that you can seek compensation for the damages later. Even if you are unsure how you want to move forward after the accident, it’s best to go ahead and let your insurance company know what happened so that you leave your options open.
It should also be mentioned that your damages will only be covered by insurance that was in place prior to the car crash. It’s good practice to speak with your insurance company before a hit-and-run takes place, and have them walk you through what parts of your policy would protect you in such a situation.
Seek Legal Counsel
Navigating a hit-and-run claim, especially if the driver is not able to be charged, can be tricky. Having an experienced team of legal counselors by your side will be your key to success. Our team at the personal injury law firm of Peter N. Davis & Associates is determined to get you the compensation you deserve. For more information, give us a call, or fill out an online form to contact us today.