What to Do in a Hit and Run
by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: April 24, 2021
While the specifics vary, every state requires drivers involved in major collisions to stop and notify law enforcement. Those that instead flee the scene of the crash are known as hit and run drivers.
Hit and runs present serious issues for innocent victims in the crash. Without identifying the responsible driver in the accident, many motorists are on the hook for their own damages, even if they were not at fault for the accident.
By following these steps, you could put yourself in the best position after a hit and run accident. A Pittsburgh auto accident lawyer can guide you through this complex process and help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact the Police
Always contact the police after a hit and run. In some cases, it might seem futile. Drivers often slip away in heavy traffic, and some hit and run accidents occur when you are not even present. Regardless of how unlikely finding the driver might seem, informing the police is a good idea.
For one thing, the police might surprise you with their ability to track down the responsible party. Officers can canvas witnesses or use other methods to locate evidence like license plate numbers. What’s more, calling the police preserves any future insurance claim you might have.
Do not follow the other driver
It might be tempting to try and follow the other driver after a hit and run accident. That is not a good idea. The odds are good you will have to drive in an unsafe manner to catch up to them. You only put yourself at additional risk by following the other driver.
Write down details
Like with any car accident, the aftermath of a hit and run crash can be chaotic. That said, it is best to write down as many details as possible. Every piece of information could be useful to you. The most important detail is the other driver’s license plate number. After that, the make, model, and color of the car is also useful. If you can make out what the driver looks like, a description could come in handy.
Look for witnesses
Even if you did not get a good look at the driver or their license plate, someone else might have. The bad news is that witnesses often fail to contact law enforcement when they witness a crash. The good news is that many of them will be helpful if you make contact. Additionally, the word of a neutral third-party witness carries tremendous weight when you are filing a lawsuit.
Notify your insurance company
As soon as reasonably possible, you should contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident. This is an important step, as your insurance policy likely requires you to notify your insurance carrier immediately.
If you fail to inform your insurance company of the accident, they could deny your claim due to your lack of cooperation. This is especially problematic in a hit and run accident if you have an uninsured motorist policy.
Contact an attorney
Of all the steps you take after a hit and run accident, hiring an attorney could be the most important. A Pittsburgh personal injury attorney could help in two important ways. If you have uninsured motorist coverage with your insurance policy, an attorney could assist you in filing your claim.
If you lack that coverage, an attorney could work to bring a lawsuit against the responsible driver.
In some cases, the police will identify the culprit. In others, however, an attorney could track down their identity during their own investigation.
At Chaffin Luhana, we have extensive experience litigating hit and run accident lawsuits. To learn more, schedule your free consultation right away.