The first thing to do after a car accident hit and run will be to tend to your medical needs, and to alert the proper authorities.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that approximately 11 percent of car accidents involve a hit and run driver. If you were struck by someone who fled the scene of the accident, there are several things you’ll need to do, each discussed below.
Avoid the Temptation to Chase the Driver
Anger and adrenaline may cause you to want to chase down the other driver, but authorities highly warn against this. There are numerous reasons the driver could be fleeing the scene; they could be a dangerous criminal and may react unpredictably.
Many drivers who hit and run do so because they are not carrying insurance, or they are intoxicated. At any rate, it’s advisable to stay calm, collect what information you can, and rely on the authorities to track down the other driver.
Collect as Much Information as Possible
Provided your immediate medical needs are tended to, try collecting and writing down as much information that you can.
If you’re able, try to write down:
- the make and model of the car;
- the license plate number;
- a description of the driver; and
- witness names and contact numbers.
You’ll want to keep this information in a safe location to not only help the police locate and identify the suspect, but to facilitate your case when you try to pursue compensation with the insurance company.
Contact the Police
The next thing you’ll need to do after a hit and run is contact the police. You can provide them will all the pertinent information you have, and they will fill out a police report.
They might not be able to track down the other driver, but you’ll still need to have the police report to support your car accident claim. After the police have arrived on the scene, assessed the situation, and collected all necessary information, they will complete their report. Ask how you can obtain a copy.
While the police are surveying the scene, it’s a good time to take photos of videos of the accident location and the damages. These may help with the investigation, as well as support your insurance claim.
Consulting a Car Accident Attorney
Hit and run accidents can cause enormous losses, and because the other driver is unknown, obtaining compensation can be extremely difficult. This is why you’ll want to seek the counsel of an accident attorney in Des Moines as soon as you’re able.
Your attorney can explain your legal options to you. Most often, this will require filing an uninsured motorist claim. This coverage is not required in Iowa, but if you have it, it can help cover your expenses and losses. If the other driver is located, you can file a claim against his or her insurance.
The office of Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help accident victims handle these types of cases, and can determine what options you may have for financial compensation after a car accident hit and run in Des Moines. Contact us at (888) 435-9886.