There is nothing pleasant about being involved in an auto accident, but when the driver at fault is apologetic and willing to right their wrong, the process is easier to tolerate. The opposite is true when the at-fault driver flees the scene. While not ideal, it is a situation you can work through. If you find yourself in this predicament, learn what you should do.
1. Safely Collect Details
Collect information about the other vehicle or driver if you can do so safely. If you are injured, focus on yourself, you are most important. Identifying information, such as the vehicle color, driver description, or other determining factors, such as license plate characters or vehicle features, such as a dent, are helpful.
2. Notify the Police
Contact the police. This step is vital for two reasons. First, a police report is required to document the accident and file a claim. Second, the police can review identifying details you were able to collect to help identify the driver. In some instances, the police can take the vehicle's color or make and model along with just a few characters from the license plate to locate the at-fault party.
3. Identify Witnesses
The police may collect statements upon arrival, but it is not always required. Locate anyone in the area who might have seen the accident. Not only may these individuals have details about the other vehicle, but they might also have details about how the accident occurred. Again, only perform this step if you can do so safely.
4. Document Injuries
A visit to the hospital or a medical office should be next. You must document any injuries sustained following the accident, as auto accident claims will include compensation for property damage and physical injuries. Ask the provider for a copy of the discharge paperwork so that you can take it to an attorney.
5. Explore Legal Options
At any point after the accident, you can reach out to an attorney so that they can begin the investigation and claims processes. To aid with these steps, provide the attorney with a copy of the police report and your medical information. Based on their findings, an attorney can help you locate the driver and file suit against their insurance or pursue compensation from your insurance policy.
Remember that an attorney can help whether the negligent driver is at the scene or not. Be sure to let an attorney assist you. Reach out to a local law firm, such as Wingfield, Ginsburg & Lipp, PC, to learn more.