How to Prove a Hit and Run Accident
The fact of the matter is – every person who drives a vehicle (legally or otherwise) has a duty to act responsibly on the road. This means driving safely, obeying traffic laws, and adjusting accordingly for road conditions. Unfortunately, though, some drivers may cause an accident and immediately leave the scene, which is in and of itself, another crime.
When you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it can be difficult to know what to do. The most important thing is not to panic.
Proving another driver at fault in an auto accident is paramount to collecting pain and suffering damages. It’s harder to do if there’s no other driver at the scene, but there are still steps you can take to protect yourself after an accident.
I. Contact the Police Immediately
Even if you were not in the vehicle at the time of the accident, contact the police as soon as you notice the damage to your vehicle. Many hit-and-run accidents occur in parking lots. A driver may back into your vehicle or hit it while they are leaving and once they realize you’re not around to report the accident, leave the scene.
The police will visit the scene and write out a report. What they say in the report will go a long way toward proving accident fault. They’ll be able to report on road and traffic conditions and the suspected cause of the accident. Ask for a copy of their report.
II. Seek Medical Attention
If you are in the vehicle at the time of the accident, it’s important that you seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be readily apparent within moments of the impact. When you contact the police, they will ask if you need medical attention. If that’s the case, emergency medical services will arrive at the scene and may take you to the hospital if necessary.
III. Gather Witness Statements
If others were around at the scene and saw the accident occur, ask that they stay and provide witness statements to the police. This can help when it comes to obtaining a reliable description of the vehicle and its driver. When possible, collect the contact information of any of these witnesses who say they’d be willing to testify on your behalf.
IV. Take Photos of the Accident Scene and Your Vehicle
The more photos you have of the scene and the vehicle, the better off you’ll be when it comes to proving your case. Take photos from as many angles as you can. Get close up on specific areas of damage.
Beyond the condition of your vehicle, document the condition of your clothes, and the extent of your injuries. Also be sure to take photographs of the surrounding area, as this can help you demonstrate the accident’s location, time of day, weather, and road conditions.
V. Contact Businesses Around the Scene for Security Camera Footage
If the accident occurs near any businesses, ask to see any camera footage they may have around the time of the accident. Their footage may not be able to clearly identify the driver. However, it may be able to clearly identify the make and model of the vehicle, which will make it significantly easier to prove the hit and run and track down the driver.
If it clearly identities the tag number, then you’ll be able to provide this information to the police. With that information, they can run the tag to locate the vehicle’s owner. Provide the vehicle owner’s information to your insurance company when you make your claim.
Proving a hit-and-run accident isn’t easy – and that’s why many opt to hire a personal injury attorney. These attorneys know hit-and-run laws and can help.