Knowing what to do in a hit-and-run accident is more important than you realize, because your chances of being in this type of crash is higher than you may think. The number of hit-and-runs each year has been trending up.
Hit-and-run accidents happen when a driver crashes into a pedestrian, other vehicle or private property, and doesn’t stop to offer help or to exchange contact information with others. In Nevada and most other states, hit-and-run accidents are against the law. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without offering to help anyone who is injured and without identifying yourself.
What Should I Do In a Hit and Run Car Accident?
Hopefully, you’ll never be in a hit-and-run accident. However, if you are, knowing how to handle hit-and-run accidents can save you a lot of frustration and can make it easier to make an insurance claim. Here are the steps you should take:
1. Remain Calm
Being in a car accident is terrifying enough, but being in an accident where the other driver speeds off can be even more frightening. If you are injured, especially, it can be scary to think someone has left you on your own. You may have a hard time calling for assistance if you need it. Or you may feel extremely angry someone has violated the law and has driven off without stopping.
In any event, it’s important to keep control of your emotions and think strategically.
2. Do Not Attempt to Chase or Engage the Hit-And-Run Driver
It can be tempting to try to hop in your car and chase after the hit-and-run driver. This is a bad idea. You don’t know why the hit-and-run driver has driven off. In some cases, hit-and-run drivers don’t stop to exchange information because they have criminal records or arrest warrants. You don’t want to engage someone who might be desperate, dangerous or both.
Trying to chase after a hit-and-run driver can also mean you get into a car accident because you are speeding and focusing on catching up to the driver. Let the authorities handle the motorist.
3. Gather as Much Information as You Possibly Can
Police may be able to find a hit-and-run driver quickly, especially if you are able to provide them with as much information as you can. Take photos of the scene and if you can, use your phone to take a photo of the car as it’s speeding away. Try to notice and write down the license plate number if you can — or at least a description of the car and driver. If you can’t, try to find information about the driver in other ways. Get the contact information for any possible witnesses, for example.
4. Get Immediate Medical Help for Anyone Who Has Been Injured
If you or anyone else has been injured at the scene, get immediate medical help.
5. Immediately Report the Hit-And-Run Accident
The sooner you report the accident to police, the sooner they can start looking for the driver. Hit-and-run accidents are a crime, so contact police immediately. Get a copy of the police report, since you’ll need it to file an insurance claim. You’ll also want report the hit-and-run accident to your insurance company quickly if you want to make a claim.
6. Talk to an Attorney
If you have been in a hit-and-run crash, getting insurance money or benefits may be more challenging. You may be able to still apply to get insurance from your own insurance company, even if the other driver is never found. If the hit-and-run driver is found, you might want an Las Vegas car accident attorney by your side in case you decide to file a lawsuit against the motorist.
An attorney can talk to your insurance company for you and review your insurance information to see whether you qualify for any benefits. In many cases, an attorney can also act quickly to try to get security footage from nearby stores or other sources to track down the perpetrator.
Understand Your Rights
Knowing what to do in a hit and run accident is an essential part of being a driver. The attorneys at Dallas Horton & Associates hope you are never injured and never have to use this information, but if you do need it, it is available to you.
If you have been hit by a hit-and-run driver and would like legal support, contact Dallas Horton & Associates to discuss how Nevada laws could affect your case. Our attorneys work with plaintiffs who have been injured in car accidents, and we have recovered money on behalf of people who have been hit by hit-and-run drivers. In fact, our attorneys have resolved more than 7,000 cases. If you have been injured, contact us to find out whether you have a case.