It is the role of responsible drivers to stop and exchange information immediately after being involved in an accident. This is not only the right moral thing to do, but it is also the legally required thing to do. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor in West Virginia. Unfortunately, this does not stop hundreds of thousands of hit-and-runs to occur every year in America. The accidents cause property damage, injuries, and even deaths.
If you have been involved in an accident in which the other driver didn’t stop and the police are unable to find them, you may find yourself high and dry. Damages are usually covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance. This means that, unless you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance could deny coverage based on the situation. This is why you need the support of a team that will stand by your side and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Why Some People Run
The moments immediately following an accident can be confusing and stressful for drivers, who sometimes act irrationally out of fear. Perhaps a driver doesn’t have insurance, or maybe they’re scared that their insurance rates will go up.
In a number of cases, the driver that initially fled the scene comes back once they’ve come to their senses. While the driver will likely face a penalty for failing to stop immediately, the court often softens their stance when the driver shows remorse and returns. If you are in a situation in which you have recently been involved in an accident that you ran from, your best option is to return to the scene.
What to do if the Other Driver Fled
If you are in the unenviable situation of being involved in an accident in which the other driver decided not to stop, you might be wondering what your next steps should be. Here is your checklist:
- Get to safety.
If you are in the path of traffic, get out of the way. Pullover to the shoulder or find a place that is safe for you to gather your thoughts.
- Check yourself and any passengers for injuries.
Health should be a priority. If anyone has been seriously injured, call an ambulance and get them the care they need.
- Call the police.
The police should be notified of any vehicle accident. Yours is no exception. They will send an officer to collect your statement and make a report.
- Recall the other driver.
If you have a pen and paper or are able to take notes on your phone record everything you can remember about the other driver and their car. If you can’t remember anything, that’s ok. If you can, every detail will help the police find them.
- Take photos.
Record as much of the scene as you. Take photos of the situation, ask witnesses for contact details, capture as much as you can. These notes will help your attorney build a better picture of what happened.
- Contact an attorney. Your attorney will be your advocate through these times, and you’ll need to listen to their advice. What you do and say immediately following an accident can help or hurt your case, which is why it’s important to aim for the former and avoid the latter. An attorney will let you know if you have a case, and how to best proceed.
- Get to safety.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Following a Hit-and-Run
In many personal injury cases, the role of the attorney is to prove the other side’s fault, but in hit-and-run cases, there could easily not be an “other side.” So what is the attorney’s role?
The simple answer is that your attorney should be your defense against your insurance company. Most insurance companies try to minimize the amounts they owe their clients, forcing the fault on their own client and minimizing the damage done. A good attorney will make sure the insurance company provides the amount they actually owe their client: you.