Although fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime that can cause a driver to be charged with a felony if someone is injured or dies, many people continue to do it. There are a variety of reasons why a driver would flee: a lack of insurance, a suspended license, intoxication or even criminal activity. No matter what the reason, there are certain steps you should take after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.
You should immediately dial 911 and request the police and an ambulance if you or anyone else has suffered injuries. A police officer will write an accident report based on your recollection of the details of the incident. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can use a copy of the accident report as evidence.
Record What You Remember About the Vehicle
While your memory is still fresh, you should write down whatever you can remember about the vehicle that hit you. Make note of any and all information you can recall and include the:
- Make, model and color of the vehicle that hit you
- License plate number of the other vehicle even if you only remember part of it
- Damage to the other vehicle
- Direction in which the other vehicle was headed
- Date, time and location of the accident
Use your smartphone to snap photos of your vehicle and the scene of the accident. Specifically, you should focus on the damage your vehicle sustained and skid marks on the road that show the impact. If there was any damage done to another car beside your vehicle, take photos of that as well. Pictures showing the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident can be valuable evidence in your case that you can later present to a New Jersey personal injury attorney.
Speak to Witnesses
Witnesses can be integral in a hit-and-run accident. If you see anyone who appears to have viewed the accident, approach them and get their name and contact information. You should also have any witnesses write down their recollection of the accident or record them speaking about it with your phone. Your attorney can contact them later if any additional details are needed.
Get Medical Assistance
It’s important to get checked out by medical personnel even if you don’t feel as though you’ve been injured. With adrenaline pumping so hard, it’s normal to miss injuries until hours later. Go to the emergency room and get evaluated just in case. After a devastating hit-and-run accident, you may even have internal injuries that may not immediately present. When you get medical attention, there will be a record of it, which is an essential piece of evidence for your case.
Notify Your Insurance Company
After an accident with a hit-and-run driver, you must notify your insurance company as soon as possible. It’s best to not wait to do this as it can jeopardize your claim if you file with your insurance company. Hesitating can lead to suspicions being raised about the legitimacy of your claim. If you need further assistance, you can have a personal injury attorney speak with a representative from your insurer on your behalf.
In the event that the driver is unable to be identified and located, you should be able to use uninsured driver coverage from your insurance policy. If your vehicle was damaged, your coverage should be able to cover at least part of the costs to repair it.
Contact an Attorney
You should contact a New Jersey personal injury attorney to discuss your case as well. Having the right lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the world in terms of the outcome of your case after you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident. Legal counsel can help to ensure that your rights are protected and that the amount of your compensation is sufficient to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
If you have been injured in an accident with a hit-and-run driver in New Jersey, contact RAM Law at your earliest convenience to discuss your case with an attorney. You can reach our New Brunswick office at (732) 247-3600, our Somerville location at (908) 448-2560, or our Freehold office at (732) 828-2234.