After a driver hits another vehicle, they make the terrible decision to flee the scene of the accident. However, their attempts to avoid paying for the damage and injuries they’ve caused usually fail; the only result in such a case is that they receive jail time in addition to owing damages. In Texas, this jail time can be anywhere between 1 and 10 years. If your vehicle has been struck in a hit-and-run car accident, here is what you should do immediately afterward:
Gather Information About the Vehicle
If you’re in the car when the hit and run happens, you’re likely to see the other vehicle as it flees. In this case, take note of the characteristics of the vehicle, such as:
- The color of the vehicle
- The make and model of the vehicle
- What kind of vehicle it is (van, truck, car, motorcycle, etc.)
- License plate number
- Any window or bumper stickers
You may not be able to gather all of these – or any if you didn’t see the vehicle that hit you – but do what you can.
If the hit and run occur when your vehicle is unoccupied, you’re unlikely to see the crash. In this case, see if there are any cameras that may have caught video of the offending vehicle. Many parking lots have cameras that may record the crash, and these cameras will define certain characteristics of the vehicle.
Call the Police
Any time a car crash happens, you should stop near the scene of the accident and call the police. If your vehicle is moveable, make sure to move it to a safe place out of the path of traffic such as a highway shoulder.
Once the police arrive, they’ll be able to investigate the crash scene for evidence of the offending vehicle. They will also take any information that you noted about the hit-and-run vehicle so that they can begin searching for it. And of course, they will take your full statement on the accident.
Take Witness Statements
If there were witnesses to the hit-and-run accident, they might be able to provide you with even more information about the offending vehicle. Ask if you can record their statements, and take their information so that you can use their testimonies in court. If the witnesses stay until the police arrive, they will also be able to report this information to the police.
Document the Damage
Immediately after the hit-and-run car wreck, you should take pictures to document the accident scene. Take pictures of your car and the location of the accident. When you visit the auto body shop, save their estimate on the cost to repair the damage.
Visit the Hospital
It’s important to see a medical professional after a car accident to take note of any injuries you’ve incurred. The doctor’s report will be evidence of your injuries for when you bring the hit-and-run driver to court.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney
Since the offending driver is almost certainly going to be caught, you need to contact a personal injury attorney to help you get compensated for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle after a hit and run.
It’s important to remember that you should always contact a personal injury attorney before speaking to your insurance company. Since insurance companies want to give you as little compensation as possible, it’s best to have a professional personal injury attorney talk to them instead. An attorney who’s experienced at dealing with insurance companies can make sure that the insurance company doesn’t manipulate you into accepting less than you deserve for your car damage and injuries.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, contact Branch & Dhillon P.C. Their expert personal injury attorneys are skilled at getting clients the full compensation they deserve for their damages.