5 Steps to Take if You Have Been the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Unfortunately, people don’t always do the right thing. This is especially true after a car accident. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHMSV), there were 105,000 hit-and-run crashes in the State of Florida in 2019 alone. Worse yet, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, drivers leave the scene of car accidents roughly 25-40 times per day.
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, there are steps you can take to ensure that all effort is made to identify the hit-and-run driver. This is important as any recovery for your injury may depend on locating the driver. This is, of course, dependent on your own insurance coverage. Below are 5 steps that you should take following a hit-and-run accident.
1. Call the Police Immediately After the Crash
Although this may sound logical, many people don’t do it. After any crash it is important to call the Police, especially if it was a hit-and-run crash. The Police will investigate the crash and many times they are able to locate the other driver. So don’t just assume the driver got away. Call the Police to investigate.
2. Stay at the Scene of the Crash
We’ve handled a number of cases where the victim of a hit-and-run crash will leave the scene and later call the Police from their home. This is a mistake! Remaining at the scene of the crash after a hit-and- run accident will help the Police investigate the crash by allowing them to view all evidence while it is fresh and untampered with. They are also better able to re-create how the crash occurred so if they are able to locate the driver, all appropriate charges can be asserted.
3. Immediately Write Down All Details You Recall About the Hit- and-Run Vehicle
It’s important that you immediately, or as soon as safely and physically possible, write down all details that you can recall about the hit-and-run vehicle. Although a person’s ability to recall visual information is stronger than that for written or verbal information, you will lose details over time that may be important to your case. In fact, one study has shown that after only three days, people retain only 65% of visual information; so make sure that you write down all the details of the other vehicle while it’s fresh in your memory.
4. Talk to All Witnesses Who May Have Seen the Crash
After calling the Police, you should look to see if there is anybody in the area that may have witnessed the crash. If so, talk to them to see if they can help you identify the other vehicle or driver. Because many witnesses are unwilling or unable to wait around for the Police, if they have important information about the crash, make sure to get their contact information.
5. Take Photos of the Scene and the Surrounding Area
This is very important. In any crash, you should always take photos of the area surrounding the crash, as the photos may reveal conditions that could have also caused or contributed to the crash. This can help identify other potentially responsible parties. The photos will also show nearby businesses or homes that may have surveillance cameras that could have also captured the crash. The will help your attorney with the investigation of your crash.
Can I Recover for My Injuries if the Hit-and-Run Driver is Not Identified?
If the hit-and-run driver cannot be identified, and if there are no other responsible parties that caused or contributed to your crash, then the only way you will be able to recover for your injuries - aside from your PIP coverage - is if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage. In the event of a hit-and-run car accident, the at-fault driver will automatically be considered uninsured, meaning there is no bodily injury coverage to cover for your injury. You can then turn to your own insurance company to make a claim. Your insurance company will then stand in the shoes of the at-fault driver. This means that it can assert any defense against you that the at-fault driver would have had available to him/her resulting from the car accident.
Trust SouthShore Injury Attorneys With
Your Florida Personal Injury Claim
After an accident, it is important that you find a qualified Riverview personal injury attorney to handle your claim. The attorneys at SouthShore Injury Attorneys handle only personal injury claims, and are experienced in representing injury victims throughout the State of Florida. If you’ve suffered injuries in a Riverview personal injury accident, contact SouthShore Injury Attorneys at (813) 419-3866 for a free consultation.
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