After a hit-and-run accident, it is normal to feel confused, angry, and unsure of what to do next. This blog discusses the five steps you can take after a hit-and-run accident to maximize your chance of a successful recovery. Contact us today to speak with a New Jersey hit-and-run accident attorney!
What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Of course, if you are seriously injured, you should first call 911 for emergency medical assistance. By calling 911, you will also receive a police response to help ensure safety. In the event 911 assistance is not required, or after they have been called, here are the next steps you should take.
If you are able, you should take note of the fleeing vehicle. In a matter of seconds, the car can be out of sight. Immediately after you are hit, quickly note any details about the vehicle and driver, including the make and model of the car, license plate number, and driver’s description. Also, make a note of the direction the vehicle drove off in. You should never, however, follow or chase the car.
Report the Accident
If you are lucky enough not to need emergency medical or police assistance, you should still be sure to report the accident. You should report it to local law enforcement so they can investigate and create an accident report. This creates a detailed written record for later.
You should also notify your insurance company of the collision. New Jersey is a no-fault auto insurance state. This means that, in an accident, you must seek compensation through your own insurance policy, even if you are not at fault for the accident. This also applies in hit-and-run instances where the other driver is never identified or located.
When you report the incident to your insurance company, let them know you were involved in a hit-and-run accident and have filed a police report.
Gather the Evidence You Can
While at the accident scene, you should gather any evidence you can, even if you cannot take note of the fleeing vehicle or driver.
Helpful evidence includes:
• Photos of any damages or injuries,
• Notes about the location of the accident,
• Statements from eyewitnesses and their contact info for later,
• Documenting any potential surveillance cameras in the area, and
• Writing down information about the weather, traffic, and road conditions at the time.
Do not panic if you are seriously injured and unable to collect any evidence at the time of the crash. We have the resources to assist you even at a much later time.
See A Doctor and Continue Treatment
Even if you do not require emergency medical care, you should still see a doctor to ensure you have no internal or slow-manifesting injuries. If you are already under a doctor’s care, you should continue with all necessary treatment.
Call a New Jersey Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney
If you are the victim of any accident, it is a good idea to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. However, if you are a hit-and-run victim, it is essential to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced New Jersey hit-and-run accident attorney. Hit-and-run claims and lawsuits can be challenging, but we can help.
New Jersey No-Fault and Hit-and-Run Accident Liability
Because New Jersey is a no-fault state, your pursuit of coverage will remain similar regardless of whether the police locate the fleeing driver.
Our New Jersey hit-and-run accident lawyers can help you pursue compensation from your collision policy and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage up to your policy limits.
Your collision coverage provides compensation to repair or replace your vehicle or other damaged property, and your personal injury protection benefits will compensate you for the following:
• Medical expenses,
• Lost wages, and
• Other expenses you incur because of the accident.
• In New Jersey, motorists must have a minimum of $15,000 of PIP coverage per person per accident but can choose to purchase up to $250,000 worth of PIP coverage.
If the Driver Is Identified and Located
If the fleeing driver is located and they are insured, you may be able to seek additional coverage from their policy benefits. For instance, if you only have $15,000 in personal injury protection coverage but have outstanding medical bills for $50,000, you may be able to seek the difference. Your insurance company may also seek reimbursement from the other driver’s carrier.
If the Driver is Not Located
If the police cannot locate the driver who fled the scene of an accident, you can still pursue compensation for your medical expenses through your PIP coverage. In this situation, you may also be able to seek compensation from your uninsured/underinsured coverage. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will reimburse your property damage and medical expenses up to your policy limits. The same would apply if the police located the fleeing driver, but they lack insurance or sufficient coverage.
Our hit-and-run accident attorneys can help you determine what type of insurance coverage might be available.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Many car accident disputes will be resolved through the claims process. However, sometimes, if you cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company, it is necessary to file a civil lawsuit for damages. In a hit-and-run scenario, this is only possible if the driver is identified and located.
Importantly, whether the fleeing driver faces criminal charges, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Reach out to speak with a New Jersey hit-and-run accident lawyer!