Hit and run accidents are an unfortunate event that no one anticipates. It can be a frightening experience, leaving victims feeling violated and unsure of what steps to take next. This article aims to demystify what constitutes a hit and run accident and provide guidance on the course of action if you fall victim to such an incident.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
In traffic laws, a hit and run accident refers to a situation where a driver causes a traffic collision and does not stop afterwards. This could involve another vehicle, property, or even a pedestrian. The offending driver knowingly fails to stop to provide their contact and insurance information or offer necessary assistance.
Hit and Run Statute
According to the hit and run statute, it is a criminal act for motorists involved in an accident to leave the scene without identifying themselves to the other party involved. This rule applies even in minor accidents. The act of leaving the scene after an accident can constitute the primary violation of the law.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
As per recent reports by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the United States has witnessed an alarming rise in hit and run accidents. In 2016, there were roughly 737,100 hit and run accidents, marking the highest number recorded in the nation’s history. These incidents resulted in 2,049 fatalities, a drastic 60% increase from 2009. The state of New Mexico has shown the highest rate of hit and run deaths per capita. It’s noteworthy that, according to these statistics, most victims of fatal hit and run accidents are pedestrians or cyclists, accounting for nearly 65% of all hit and run fatalities.
What Should You Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run?
Being involved in a hit and run accident can be a chaotic and stressful experience. However, knowing the right steps to take can ensure your safety and help build a strong case if you decide to pursue legal action.
1. Ensure Your Safety
Your first priority should always be ensuring your safety and the safety of others involved. If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic to a safe location. Check for any injuries and call for medical help if needed.
2. Call the Police
Immediately call the police to report the incident. It’s essential to have an official record of the accident for insurance purposes, and this can also aid in the search for the driver who fled the scene.
3. Document the Scene
While waiting for the police, try to document as much information about the accident as possible. This might include the color, make, and model of the other vehicle, a partial license plate number, or even the direction the vehicle was headed. Also, take note of the time and location of the accident.
Take pictures of the accident scene from different angles, capturing the damage to your vehicle, skid marks, broken glass, and other relevant details.
4. Look for Witnesses
Witnesses can be invaluable in a hit and run case. If there are any bystanders who saw the incident, ask them what they saw and if they caught any details about the other vehicle or driver. Be sure to get their contact information so they can provide a statement to the police or testify in court if necessary.
5. Report the Incident to Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Provide them with all the information and evidence you’ve gathered. The more information you can provide, the better equipped your insurer will be to process your claim.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t feel injured immediately after the accident, it’s important to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be apparent right away but could manifest later. A medical record documenting any injuries from the accident can also serve as critical evidence in your case.
7. Consult with a Lawyer
Following a hit and run accident, you might face complicated legal issues and insurance claims processes. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through these complexities, ensuring you understand your rights and options.
While it’s distressing to be the victim of a hit and run, remember that you’re not alone. Legal and insurance professionals are there to support you, and there are laws in place to protect your rights.
Hiring the Ganim Injury Law Firm to Handle Your Case
When you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you need a trusted and experienced advocate on your side, and the Ganim Injury Law Firm is just that. With a distinguished track record in successfully handling hit-and-run cases, we’re well-versed in navigating the complexities of the legal system, using every tool at our disposal to fight for your rights. Our dedicated team conducts thorough investigations, aggressively negotiates with insurance companies, and if necessary, is prepared to take your case to trial. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll such incidents can take, and we’re committed to ensuring that you receive the maximum compensation deserved. With the Ganim Injury Law Firm, you’re more than a client; you’re our priority. Reach out today for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case.