No matter how big or small the accident is, both parties should stick around to guarantee that everyone is safe, insurance information is exchanged and a police report can be filed. If you are hit by a driver that is under the influence, driving on a suspended license or one who knows he or she will be in serious trouble if caught, that driver may choose to take off after the accident.
Not only does this cause confusion and anger at the scene, but it can also make it difficult to get compensation you need for injuries and damages you sustained at the hands of the other driver. If you are ever involved in an accident and the at-fault driver takes off, the following tips may help law enforcement catch the person who is at fault for your damages.
Check for any injuries
Before any action is taken, check all those involved for any injuries. If you are unable to do so, encourage another witness to monitor the situation and people involved. Everyone who is affected by the accident should receive medical treatment immediately if necessary, and should undergo a medical evaluation to screen for any long-term injuries once the dust has settled.
Stay calm and gather information
Whether you are a pedestrian, a driver or a passenger involved in a motor vehicle accident, the stress and fear are the same. Although you are upset, angry and possibly even injured, it is important to get as much information as possible.
Get the make, model and license plate number of the other vehicle. Ask any potential witnesses to write down their accounts, or take their phone numbers and names before they leave. The more information you have, the easier it is for law enforcement to catch the other driver and for your insurance to decide how to handle your claim.
File a police report
It does not matter if the incident was a small fender bender or a head-on collision on the freeway, a police report should always be filed. This is especially important when the other vehicle leaves the scene before identification can be made, as you may need the official accident report to make sure you are compensated for any injuries you suffer because of the crash.
Contact an attorney
Even if you walk away from the accident feeling fine and healthy, there is never any guarantee about your long-term health and the effects the collision could have on it. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, consult an attorney immediately to preserve and document information that may be important to your claim.