Hit-and-run accidents can be devastating and result in serious injuries for victims. Unfortunately, recovering compensation for injury expenses and property damage can be complicated after a hit-and-run accident. If you or a loved one have been struck by a hit-and-run driver, there are various steps you can take to ensure your well-being and to increase your chances of receiving the compensation you are entitled to.
These Incidents Are More Common Than Most People Think
According to AAA, more than one hit-and-run accident occurs every minute in this country. During the most recent reporting year in the United States, there were approximately 682,000 hit-and-run crashes that resulted in over 2,000 fatalities.
In California, hit-and-run is a serious crime and is defined by a driver leaving the scene of an accident without providing contact information to another driver or leaving the scene before police arrive at a serious accident.
Steps to Take After an Ontario, CA Hit-and-Run Accident
If you have been struck by a hit-and-run driver anywhere in California, there are several steps you can follow.
1. Get to Safety
It can be tempting to want to chase after a driver that flees the scene of an accident, but this is not a good idea. You should pull over to a safe location if you can move your vehicle, turn the car off, and ensure you or anybody in your vehicle have not sustained serious injuries.
2. Call 911
If you are able to do so, call 911 and tell the dispatcher that an accident has occurred and that another driver has fled the scene. If anybody is injured, make sure an ambulance is on the way to the scene. If you have a description of the vehicle or driver that fled, you can provide this information to the dispatcher.
3. Seek Medical Assistance
The most important thing you can do is seek medical attention for any injuries. Even if you do not feel any pain in the immediate aftermath of the crash, you still need to go to the doctor. Let a healthcare professional assess your condition. Please be aware that the signs and symptoms of many car accident injuries do not appear for hours or even days after an accident occurs.
4. Obtain Evidence
If you are able to do so, you can obtain evidence at the scene of the crash. Use your phone or another available camera to take pictures of the scene, including the vehicles, any damages, injuries, traffic and weather conditions, and more.
5. Get Eyewitness Contact Information
If there are any eyewitnesses who saw the hit-and-run incident, you should get their names and contact information. If you are not comfortable speaking to them, ask the police to do so. Eyewitness statements can help corroborate your story.
6. Consult With an Attorney
Most car accident attorneys in Ontario, CA will offer a free consultation of your case. In the aftermath of a hit-and-run crash, an attorney will be able to help obtain all evidence necessary and work with law enforcement to ensure that you are treated fairly and obtain any compensation you are entitled to.
7. Report the Incident to Your Insurance Carrier
You are required to report any accident to your insurance carrier. You should check your policy to see whether or not you have uninsured motorist coverage, as this could help you recover the compensation you need for your medical expenses and property damage.