How Do I Respond to a Hit and Run?
In any accident scenario, a driver is legally required to stop, give their contact information and render reasonable assistance to those involved in the crash. Failing to do so, and leaving the scene of a hit-and-run, can be a serious crime that comes with severe penalties, especially in New York.
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What is a Hit and Run?
A hit-and-run is a car crash that involves injuries or death. It is also a common way that drivers cause damage to property, sometimes without even realizing it.
The legal definition of a hit and run differs from state to state, but it is generally defined as the failure of a driver to leave the scene of an accident when they are in charge. Most states have laws that state drivers are required to stop, exchange information and provide aid to those injured in the crash.
What Should I Do?
Immediately Call the Police to Report the Crash
The sooner the police are made aware of the accident, the sooner they can begin their investigation. This will help them gather evidence such as witness statements, nearby surveillance footage and other details of the accident.
Take Notes and Photographs of the Crash
It is very important to take notes of the incident, including the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved and any damage. These details will help police to locate the driver of the vehicle that may have fled the scene.
Ask for the Names and Phone Numbers of Bystanders
It may be difficult to get the names and phone numbers of people who were in the area at the time of the accident, but asking for them will be helpful to police. Bystanders are more likely to remember things that you might not have seen or heard.
You can also ask for their license and insurance information. This will give police officers the ability to write a proper hit and run report that can be used in court if you decide to file a civil suit against the driver later.
If you have a cell phone, use it to snap pictures of the scene of the accident. This will include pictures of the driver and the vehicle that was damaged.
Make sure to include any damages to your vehicle, such as scratches or cracks that might be related to the accident. This will help the police to locate the driver of the vehicle and possibly get a hold of any physical evidence that was left behind.
Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer
If the other driver is not found, it may be difficult to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. This is why it is vital to consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a hit-and-run.
A car accident attorney will help you to determine the best course of action after a hit and run, including filing a claim with your insurance company. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and other losses, such as damages for medical expenses or lost wages.