Being involved in any sort of motor vehicle collision is scary, disorienting, and anger-inducing. A car accident can take you through a myriad of emotions. Even more evocative than a typical car accident is a hit-and-run. The other driver has left the scene of the accident and you are all alone with your injuries. There is a federal statute that says all motorists involved in a car accident must remain at the scene and follow certain protocols.
Each state, including Nevada, has its individual laws regarding a hit-and-run as well. These statutes are in place to protect drivers and pedestrians. Despite the fact that leaving the scene of an injury accident is has serious consequences, usually criminal charges, people still frequently do it. This is especially true in cases of motorists who are either uninsured, driving drunk, or both.
There are steps that you, as the victim, can take to make filing a claim regarding your accident easier. It is also possible to get compensation for your damages even if you never find out who hit you as long as you handle the accident the right way. Calling the police and a personal injury attorney are probably the two most important steps you can follow after being the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Follow Basic Safety Protocols
If you are able to safely do so, move your vehicle off to the shoulder of the road out of the way of traffic. If moving your vehicle is not possible, you need to use road flares or traffic cones to alert and redirect oncoming traffic, so that your collision does not cause additional collisions.
Call the Police
Not only is it the law, but the arrival of police on the scene will ensure professional documentation of the accident. The police will photograph the accident, the surrounding area, and ask you for any information that you may have.
They will also be able to access any traffic cameras in the area that may have caught the incident on tape. Let the police know if there are any apparent injuries from the accident so medical assistance can be summoned.
While waiting for the police, gather and write down what information you can obtain. If you are in doubt about whether you need a certain piece of information, go ahead and make a note of it in case you may need it later. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. You should be sure to write down the other vehicle’s license plate number, make/model/year/color of the vehicle, date/time/place of the accident, and the details of the accident, while it is still fresh in your mind.
In a hit-and-run, you will not have as much information as you normally would but anything that you can notate could be helpful. If anyone stops and offers their assistance as a witness, you need to write down their personal information and possibly a brief statement of what they witnessed. Taking your own pictures of the scene is also a good idea.
Seek Medical Attention, No Matter What
Even if you feel perfectly fine there are many injuries that can take a few hours or even days to manifest themselves. You should visit a doctor, no matter what, and receive a thorough evaluation of any injuries you may have sustained during the car accident.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
In filing a claim for a hit-and-run accident, there are many aspects of compensation you will want to be petitioned on your behalf. These items could include property damage, medical bills – past & future, and lost wages to name a few. It is vital that you do not leave it up to the insurance companies to decide what compensation you will receive.
It is their job to minimize their financial losses, which means attempting to settle your claim for far less than you deserve. If you agree to their terms and sign a waiver, you will lose any opportunity to file claims for additional compensation in the future. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve on your claim, so you are not suffering financial losses due to someone else’s recklessness and negligence.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in the Las Vegas area, contact The Cottle Firm as soon as possible. We have personal injury attorneys with the determination and knowledge to ensure you receive the compensation deserved, to minimize your financial strain. For a free, one time consultation with a member of our legal team, give us a call today at 702-722-6111.