While it is customarily expected that those involved in a vehicle crash will stop and make sure everyone involved is okay, and that all pertinent information is exchanged, this does not always happen. There are many instances when a car accident occurs and one of the parties to the incident does not stop. Under these circumstances it is important that you take the proper steps to ensure that you will be able to make a valid claim to your medical carrier and/or vehicle insurance company.

Most importantly your first responsibility is in regard to your safety and well-being. Therefore, if you are able, move your car off of the main thoroughfare and check yourself for injuries. If you are injured, call 911 immediately and alert them to the need for medical assistance. Next, remain calm and await the emergency personnel’s arrival.  However, during this time, if you are able you should do the following;

Firstly, immediately write down as much information about the other vehicle as you can see, including:

  • Make and model of the car
  • License plate number or parts of the number
  • Description of the driver and/or passengers in the car
  • Colour of the car
  • Any unusual markings on the car
  • The direction the car was coming from

Secondly, it is important to get information off of any witnesses to the incident, such as:

  • Their names and contact information; cell phone number, email, fax number, work number
  • A description of what they saw
  • Ask them to text you any pictures or videos they might have taken of the accident

Lastly, make a note about the location of the accident, recording information like:

  • The street name where the accident occurred
  • The closest cross street
  • Landmarks within visual distance
  • Surrounding store fronts
  • Time of day
  • Direction you were traveling

Once you have collated all of the above information, it is important to await the arrival of police officers who have been notified of the accident. Once the police arrive, it is important to;

  • Give the officers a copy of all of the information you have collected
  • Be cooperative in giving your own verbal statement
  • If asked, give a written statement
  • Take a copy of the police report for future insurance or medical needs
  • Give all of your contact information so that you can easily be reached by the Police Department
  • If the police do not come to the scene of the accident, go to the police station within 24 hours of the incident and file a report

Once you have handled the immediate needs of the accident itself, you will need to tend to your own medical needs. If you believe you are injured, make an appointment with your general medical practitioner as soon as possible. Upon being examined, give all of the pertinent details mentioned above, as well as:

  1. The nature of the accident
  2. Any symptoms you are experiencing including sore body parts, headaches, body pain, vision or hearing issues, sleeplessness, dizziness, nausea etc.
  3. Any injuries including lacerations, black and blue marks, swollen body parts such an ankle or knee etc.
  4. Indicate if you were symptom and/or injury free prior to the accident
  5. Report any over the counter medications you have used to reduce pain or inflammation subsequent to the accident
  6. Request a copy of the report and the doctor’s recommendations for your records

After receiving the necessary and appropriate medical attention, contact your insurance company. Most companies have a dedicated number for reporting car accidents. Before you make the call, be sure you have all of the necessary information and paperwork they might ask for including,

  1. Car insurance policy number
  2. Vehicle identification number
  3. Police Report
  4. Medical Records
  5. Details about the accident
  6. Photographs and/or videos that you can email to them
  7. Current contact information, including your case number so that you can easily be reached if they have any questions

Be sure to ask the following questions so that you will know the perimeters of getting your vehicle serviced or fixed;

  • The amount of money that will be deductible and/or the type of collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage you have
  • The authorised service shops that you can use for the particular repairs you need completed
  • If there is a limited time frame for the authorisation for vehicle repair to remain valid
  •  The effect of the accident on the cost of your insurance policy

It is truly unnerving to be the victim of a hit and run accident. However, if you are informed of what you can do to reduce your own liabilities and receive the medical care, insurance benefits, legal advice and protection you need to move through the process smoothly and efficiently, the incident does not have to cause you great angst.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.