Establishing Fault in a Car Accident Claim
Car accidents can be incredibly jarring, and it can be hard to realize what actually happened until it’s too late. However, if you’re hit in a hit and run, it’s incredibly important to gather details and documentation of exactly what happened. Hit and runs aren’t treated the same as regular car accidents, as you have no way of obtaining the other person’s car insurance. Because of this, it can be rather difficult to get your car or medical bills paid for. This is why you need to call the police right away, get medical treatment, and collect information. There are many other things you should do after a hit and run, keep reading to figure out exactly how to handle these types of situations.
Call the Police Right Away
It’s imperative to call the police as soon as possible after your car is hit. Contacting the police will accomplish several necessary steps at once and keep you from having to do extra work later down the road. When you call the police right after your hit and run, they may be able to identify the escaping driver on street cameras. If there is video evidence of the driver hitting you, or the driver escaping, it will be much easier to prove that your side of the accident.
You will also be required to file a police report after your accident, especially if you’re injured or your car is damaged. This police report will not only validate your claims to your insurance company, but the sooner you call, the more likely they are to believe these claims. Waiting a week or so after your accident won’t be as effective as an immediate call. This police involvement will shut down the possibility of your claim being considered fraudulent.
Get Medical Treatment As Soon As Possible
In a similar vein, getting medical treatment right after your accident is also very important. The doctors and nurses will be able to identify any injuries from the accident, and this information will be helpful for your case. Not only that, but if you’re seriously injured, medical attention is always necessary. Even if you aren’t certain that you were injured, it’s important to be looked at by a medical professional. There are many injuries that aren’t seen on the surface level, such as whiplash, or a concussion.
Conduct Your Own Investigation of the Accident
If you’re safe, and not injured, it may be a good idea to try and conduct your own investigation of the crime scene. For example, if you’re able to catch the driver’s license plate number, that would be a huge help in determining blame. However, if you’re in an unsafe location, or you’re injured, it’s best to leave the investigating to the police when they arrive.
Collect Info From Witnesses of the Accident
If there were any bystanders that happened to see the accident take place, make sure you get statements from them. Because bystanders are sometimes uncomfortable providing information to a police officer, they may give you more information. If you’re able to ask them direct questions, they may reveal details about the accident that you didn’t know. Make sure to get their names and phone numbers so you can contact them later if you need to.
Take Photographs and Video of the Car Accident Scene
Taking pictures or video of your car and the crime scene can be incredibly helpful. Again, it’s important to take care of yourself first. If you’ve been injured, wait for help to arrive before you do anything. Your own safety is more important, and you don’t want to become more injured by trying to obtain documentation. That being said, getting this documentation can be very helpful.
Pictures of your car and surrounding traffic lights and stop signs will be helpful to your case if you can get them. Also be sure to take any pictures of nearby landmarks, and vehicle damage. You can never take too many pictures.
Record Your Own Account of What Happened
While everything is still fresh in your mind, you should record your own statement of what happened. This way you can easily remember exactly what happened, without any missing details or important information. The best way to do this is with your cell phone. You can record either video or audio, but make sure you say everything that’s important. If you know the make and model of their car, or their license plate number, say them during your recording. This will provide you with documentation to look back at, as well as to provide to law enforcement or the insurance company. You also want to make sure that you don’t admit fault during this video.
Get Your Insurance Company Involved
No matter what happens, getting your insurance company involved should be high on your list of priorities. Keep them in the loop, so they know exactly what’s going on. You should also allow your insurance company to investigate the accident on their own. If anything, you just want to make sure that you’re in good standing with the insurance company. You don’t want to give them any reason to believe your claim is fraudulent.
Understand Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for any injury-related damages when you’re hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance. In this case, the coverage also applies when you don’t know, or can’t figure out, who hit you.
Why Must You Prove Who Hit Your Car?
After your accident occurs, you may feel like you need to prove who hit you. However, this may not always be necessary. In most cases, the police will handle the investigation and you won’t really need to do anything after that. If you took all the necessary steps after the accident, there isn’t much left for you to do.
If you’re looking for proof that you were hit in a hit and run, the insurance company will likely let you know if they need more information. If you aren’t being accused of fraud, there’s no reason to stress or panic about your claim, as it will likely be taken care of correctly.
Track Down Local Police Video Footage of the Accident
If you’re looking for more closure about your accident, you may track down the police video footage from whatever street you were on. To do this, it will be easiest to follow up with the officer who investigated the accident. However, your accident will not be a priority if the station is dealing with more significant crime issues. The systems only retain the videos for a certain amount of time, so if this is the route you want to take, you should act fast.
Contact The Eberst Law Firm for Help With Your Hit and Run
If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, there is a lot to deal with at one time. Keeping track of evidence and statements can be confusing, and you shouldn’t have to do it on your own. Contact us at The Eberst Law Firm, and we’d be happy to look over your case. Any of our talented personal injury lawyers would be able to take on your case. If you’re in the Stuart or Gainesville, Florida area, please contact us online or at (772) 225-4900.
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm who have extensive experience trying legal cases outside and inside courtrooms throughout Florida. This article was also extensively researched to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. If you want to know more about the author of this page, view our our attorney bios here.