While it is customarily expected that those involved in a vehicle crash will stop and make sure everyone involved is okay, and that all important 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 those involved know what to do in a hit and run accident.
If you’ve recently been in a hit and run accident, you must take the proper steps to make a valid claim to your medical carrier and/or vehicle insurance company. If need be, it’s also important to contact a personal injury lawyer to guide you through this difficult matter.
What to do in a hit and run accident:
- Safety first
- Get all the details down
- Report to the police
- Address your medical needs
- Sort out your insurance
- Hit and run accident FAQ
What to do in a hit and run accident: 5 steps
1. Safety first
Knowing exactly what to do in a hit and run accident can become a blur amidst the shock of what has just occurred; however, your safety and wellbeing is paramount, and therefore the highest priority. If you are able, move your car off of the main road and check yourself and passengers for injuries.
If anyone is injured, call emergency services immediately and alert them to the need for medical assistance. This is a vital first step in order to avoid more collisions and prevent it from turning into a fatal car accident (if there are any serious injuries).
Do you call the police for a hit and run? Absolutely, this is so they can meet you at the scene and assess the situation.
2. Details, details, details!
What evidence is needed for a hit and run?
Try to remain calm and await the emergency personnel’s arrival. During this time, if you are able, you should do the following.
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
Next, it is important to get information off any witnesses to the incident, such as:
- Their names and contact information (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 such as:
- The street name where the accident occurred
- The closest cross street
- Landmarks within visual distance
- Surrounding store fronts
- Time of day
- Direction you were travelling in
3. Talk with the authorities
How to report a hit and run
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. Here is what to do in a hit and run accident when the police arrive:
- 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
4. Address your medical needs
Once you have handled the immediate needs of the accident itself, you will need to tend to your own medical needs. If you, or someone else involved in the accident has been seriously injured, make sure that an ambulance is on the way.
If you sustained what feels like relatively minor injuries, make an appointment with your general medical practitioner as soon as possible. Upon being examined (either for major or minor injuries), give all of the details mentioned above, as well as:
- The nature of the accident
- Any symptoms you are experiencing, including sore body parts, headaches, body pain, vision or hearing issues, sleeplessness, dizziness, nausea etc.
- Any injury in the car accident, including cuts, black and blue marks, swollen body parts such an ankle or knee etc.
- Indicate if you were symptom and/or injury-free prior to the accident
- Report any over the counter medications you have used to reduce pain or inflammation subsequent to the accident
- Request a copy of the report and the doctor’s recommendations for your records
5. Contact your insurance provider
Once you’ve received the necessary and appropriate medical attention, here’s what you need to do after a hit and run car accident.
Contact your insurance company to make an insurance claim. Most companies have a dedicated number for reporting motor vehicle accidents. Before you make the call, be sure you have all of the necessary information and paperwork they might ask for, including:
- Car insurance policy number
- Vehicle identification number
- Police report
- Medical records
- Details about the accident and the damage to your vehicle
- Photographs and/or videos that you can email to them
- 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:
- 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
- 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
How a lawyer can help you
It is truly unnerving to be the victim of a hit and run accident. However, if you are well-informed regarding what to do in a hit and run accident, the incident does not need to cause you any additional angst.
Understanding how you can reduce your own liabilities and receive the medical care, insurance benefits, legal advice and protection you need, will allow you to move through the process smoothly and efficiently.
If you find yourself in need of assistance with submitting a personal injury claim for your car accident injuries, or simply have more questions about what to do in a hit and run accident, please contact the car accident lawyers at Owen Hodge Lawyers. 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.
- Personal injury claim time limits
- Hit and run compensation
- Pedestrian accident
- Bicycle and motorbike accident claim
- Truck and taxi accident compensation
Hit and run accident FAQ
What do police do in a hit and run?
If you have reported the hit and run accident, the police will investigate. This is why it’s crucial you give them as much information as possible so they can determine who the hit and run driver is.
How much money can you get from a hit and run?
This ultimately depends on the extent of your injuries and the accident. We recommend speaking to a personal injury lawyer so they can give you an idea of what you are entitled to claim.
Can I still claim if the driver hasn’t been identified?
Yes. In NSW, all insurers are required to be part of the Nominal Defendant fund. If the vehicle has been unidentified (or is uninsured), the hit and run victim can still make a claim for compensation.