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Siegel Injury Law

Hit and Run Accidents: What you need to know.

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Imagine sitting at a red light and your car is suddenly rear-ended.  When you look in your rearview mirror, you see the driver that hit you back up and speed away.  You’re shocked!  Before you have time to react and try to grab a license plate number, they’re gone.  You immediately feel pain in your neck, making its way down your back.  What do you do next?  How you react after being involved in a hit-and-run crash may make the difference in whether you have a case.

From a legal standpoint, a hit-and-run crash is a serious legal matter.  If you can identify the person who hit you, they may face serious consequences for leaving the scene of an accident.  This may include felonies and misdemeanors, depending on the seriousness of the injuries.

How do you protect your legal rights as a victim?

First, even though the driver from the other vehicle left the scene, make a police report.  Making a police report is vital for a claim against your own insurance company for uninsured motorist coverage.  For insurance purposes, the driver who hit you is called a phantom vehicle.  Many insurance policies have a provision in the uninsured motorist coverage that provides coverage if you are hit by a phantom vehicle. Still, almost all of those provisions require a police report to be made.  You will want to ensure you don’t violate that provision by failing to call the police.  Additionally, calling the police can help with your claim because the police may search the area for cameras, gather evidence of tire marks, or canvas the scene for witnesses.  If you were able to get a license plate or make and model of the car, the police may be able to trace the vehicle.

Second, document the scene.  Take photos of the area where the crash occurred, including street signs, businesses in the area, stop signs or stop lights, and your vehicle in the road, if it’s safe to do so.  Take photos of your car to keep for evidence of the collision.

Third, notify your insurance carrier.  You should have insurance that will cover your bodily injury.  Having the documentation of the scene and vehicles will help your insurance company investigate what occurred.  Your insurance may be able to locate insurance if you were able to get the make and model of the car or a license plate.

Fourth, seek medical attention.  If you are hurt, go to an emergency room or urgent care.  It can sometimes take a day for the adrenaline to wear off and for you to feel pain from the crash.  Make sure you get the proper medical attention to get better.

While hit-and-run accidents can be scary and the process daunting, there is legal recourse. Calling a skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate the process and advocate for your legal rights.

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