If you drive long enough, you’re likely to be in a car crash at some point. In fact, research shows the average driver has an accident about once every 18 years. If you got your license at 16 years of age, you can expect to be involved in 3 collisions during your lifetime.
Hit-and-run accidents are a criminal offense, especially if there are injuries involved. Here are steps to take if you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident:
- Be Safe – Make sure everyone in your party is safe and that you’re not in any danger. If you can safely pull out of traffic, it might be the smart thing to do.
- Call 911 – This will get emergency services rolling, including paramedics or an ambulance if there are injuries (or you’re not sure if there are injuries).
- Do Not Admit Fault – Be careful what you say and how you say it. Regardless of whether you think you caused the accident, you may actually NOT be at fault. But if you say it was your fault, that can be used against you later. (Also, if it’s not a hit-and-run, do not make promises to the other driver, such as about the involvement of insurance or the police).
- Get Medical Treatment – If you or a passenger is injured, get treated. In addition to the obvious reason to fix your injuries, claiming an injury later could be challenged if there were no issues raised at the accident or shortly thereafter.
- Attempt to I.D. the Other Driver – If you can, get the make, model, color, and license plate of the vehicle. If you can get a physical description of the driver, even better. Ask other drivers who may have stopped if they have information.
- Document the Accident – Get pictures of your vehicle’s damage and the scene if you can do so safely. Write down or make a voice recording of the events that you can use to refer to for the police report. If you’ve made a recording, try to transcribe or write down the details as soon as you can. Also, do not delete the recording, as it may be needed in court.
- Check for Cameras – If you have a dashcam, preserve the footage. Also, check nearby shops and stores to see if they have security cameras which may have recorded what happened, or there were witnesses to the event.
- Contact Your Insurance Provider – They will advise of next steps.
- Resist The Urge To Follow The Other Driver. You don’t know why they are fleeing, putting yourself and passengers in danger. Also, it alters the scene of the accident and, by leaving, you may have also broken the law and could be subject to legal issues.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with an accident, hit-and-run or otherwise. But knowing steps to take–before you need them–will help you get through it. Check with your insurance provider to see if they make an auto insurance claims checklist that you can keep in your glove box to use in the event of an accident.