From someone running a red light to a minor fender-bender to a major collision, all traffic incidents are unsettling to one degree or another. Few are as upsetting, though, as a hit-and-run. When another driver runs into your vehicle -- whether you're driving at the time or your car is parked -- or when an automobile strikes you while you're walking, then flees the scene, this is a hit-and-run. Hit-and-runs also include instances when the driver provides contact details after the accident, but you later discover the information is untruthful.
Hit-and-runs are especially upsetting because you suffer injury and property damage through no fault of your own, while the at-fault individual tries to escape any accountability. Preparing yourself ahead of time and knowing what to do if and when a hit-and-run does occur may help you stay calm in the midst of such a stressful situation, which then allows you to collect as much information as possible. This information is often your best bet for pursuing justice and helping hold the accountable party responsible.
What to do after a hit-and-run
As with any car crash, you'll likely be quite shaken and unsettled in the immediate aftermath. If you or any of your passengers suffered severe injuries, the first thing you will want to do after pulling over is call 911 to make sure injured victims get emergency medical attention as quickly as possible. Otherwise, advisors recommend the following steps:
- Pull over safely
- Call the police
- Write down details
- Look for witnesses
Immediately after the collision, you'll want to try to maneuver your car out of harm's way. Advisors strongly suggest that you never attempt to follow the other driver, as leaving the scene of the accident could potentially endanger you should the other individual become violent or aggressive. Next, you'll want to call the police right away. Once police are en-route to your location, it's strongly advised that you begin documenting everything you can about the incident.
Of course, if you can remember the make, model and color of the vehicle, the license plate, or any other identifying information, this will prove extremely beneficial. Regardless, you'll want to write down everything you can remember about what happened and photograph any damage to your vehicle. If there were any witnesses, it will likely prove enormously helpful if they're willing to write down their contact information and give their version of events to police to corroborate your story.
Fighting for your rights
If you or any witnesses happened to get the license plate of the vehicle that struck you, you can file a police report with this information, as well as submit it to your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Your insurance company may then be able to fight the responsible party for reimbursements for your deductible. Otherwise, your policy may have uninsured motorist property damage coverage that may help cover the costs, so you'll want to review your options with your insurance agent.
The best possible outcome in these situations is if the police are able to use the information you gathered to apprehend the guilty party. When this happens, there are professional resources in Pennsylvania that can help you fight for justice and pursue compensation for the resultant medical expenses and damages.