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I Was Injured in a Hit and Run Accident. What Should I Do?

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In just 45 seconds, there’s been an average of one hit and run accident. That’s just over 1,900 hit and run accidents each day. In 2016, hit and run accidents resulted in more than 2,000 fatalities. It ended up being the highest number of hit and runs since officials started keeping records.

That’s just fatalities. In 2015, there were 737,100 hit and run accidents. Approximately 138,500 people were injured in those hit and run crashes. People who were out bicycling or walking between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. were more likely to be victims in a hit and run. It’s believed that the lack of visibility at night may be a factor. Other factors are the higher prevalence of drunk or impaired drivers at night.

When you’re a victim of a hit-and-run driver, it becomes very personal. Not only are injuries likely to be severe, but there’s also the fact that many hit-and-run drivers are never caught. In 2017, Los Angeles police were only able to solve 8% of the city’s hit and run cases. New York City’s police didn’t do much better. They only solved 9% of their cases. These low hit-and-run arrest rates are common throughout the U.S. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run driver, what do you do?

Steps to Take at the Scene

If you’re in another vehicle, you have a bit of a buffer to possibly help you avoid serious injuries. For those who are on a bicycle or walking/jogging, your injuries may be more severe. The very first thing you should do is get help. If anyone is with you, have them call 911. If you’re alone and can make the call, do so. If you’re alone, do your best to yell for help until someone hears you and stops.

Stay at the scene. You don’t want to also be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. It may be tempting to follow the hit-and-run driver, but it’s important that you stay put.

Wait for EMTs and police to arrive. Let the paramedics check you over. Take the ambulance ride to the hospital for scans and tests. You do not want to try to walk it off. You could have serious injuries or internal bleeding that needs a doctor’s attention.

If possible, get photos of the scene while you’re waiting. If you can’t, see if someone else at the scene can do it for you using your phone. If your phone was damaged, ask them to email photos to you. It’s best to do this when the lighting is the same as it was when you were hit. Again, you may be injured an unable to do much, but it doesn’t hurt to ask a bystander if they’d do it for you.

Try to remember as much detail as you can about the car or driver. Record a transcript on your phone so that you don’t forget any details. If you got a plate number that’s fantastic, but it’s not likely. The more detail you can provide the police, the higher the chances of getting the driver.

You could try going to stores in the area to see if they have outdoor cameras. If they do, make sure the police have asked to see the footage. Keep track of every conversation you have with the detectives. File a police report or ask them for the case/report number if they took care of it. Use that information to call your insurance agent.

If you were a bicyclist or pedestrian, you won’t be able to file a claim with your auto insurance company. You will want to try to get compensation for the amount of time you’ll miss work or school. If your injuries are going to drastically change your lifestyle, you’ll need to consider that impact. If the accident was truly not your fault and the driver is caught, you should talk to a personal injury attorney.

Why Should You Call a Lawyer After a Hit and Run?

It is always important to call an attorney as they understand the statute of limitations and laws regarding when and how to file your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If the police found the hit-and-run driver, you can go after that driver’s auto insurance policy for your medical treatments, pain and suffering, amount of time you’ll miss work/school, and the replacement value of anything destroyed or damaged in the accident.

Trial Lawyers For Justice has handled hundreds of cases involving personal injury and car accidents. A consultation with TL4J is free, so it doesn’t cost you anything to ask questions and get an expert’s opinion into whether it’s a good decision to sue a hit and run driver for the injuries you sustained. It’s risk-free and provides you with the information you need to decide if the case is worth pursuing. Call the attorneys at TL4J now to talk about your hit and run accident.

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".