This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone
Being involved in any road accident can be an incredibly traumatic experience, but being hit by a driver who does not stick around to check if you are alright is particularly shocking.
Hit and run accidents are, unfortunately, more common than you may think. On average, 682,000 hit and run incidents occur every year in the United States, and many of these cases remain unsolved.
While many people feel confident about what steps they should take if they are involved in a road crash, what do you do if you get hit by someone who drives off?
Seek Medical Assistance
As with any type of crash, the priority after a hit and run is to ensure that everyone involved receives the appropriate medical care. Even if you or your passengers do not look visibly injured, get a medical check-up to ensure there are no hidden injuries. Some of the most dangerous issues, such as traumatic brain injuries and neck injuries, can take some time to reveal themselves.
Seeking medical attention is not only crucial to your well-being; it is also vital for proving your injuries to the insurance companies. If you fail to see a doctor and later discover you are injured, the insurers may claim the injuries were not caused by the hit and run driver.
Witnesses can play an essential role in any road accident case, but they are even more valuable in a hit-and-run accident. If you are able, after the crash occurs, you should look for any eyewitnesses and get their contact details, especially their email address. This information will be useful for us, the police and the insurance companies.
You may not see any witnesses on the road but look around at nearby houses or stores. Knock on a few doors and see if anyone saw the accident, or if their security camera shows the street. If you are in a commercial area, the crash may even have been caught on a security camera.
Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene
As long as it’s safe to do so, take photos of the scene of the crash, including damage to your vehicle, paint that has transferred from the other car, injuries, the road, and the surrounding area. These will serve as evidence of the accident and the damage it caused.
In addition to photographs, take notes of what happened at the accident. It’s important to record everything you noticed about the vehicle that hit you. Ideally, you would have noticed the license plate (even a partial number), but the car’s model and color or any distinguishing features such as a roof rack or bumper sticker could help the police track down the driver.
File a Police Report
If you’ve been hit by someone who drives off, report the incident to the police within 24 hours. In Massachusetts, if you’ve been hurt or there’s property damage exceeding $1,000, you must report the accident within five days. You need to fill out and file the Commonwealth of Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report. Your insurance company can help you file this with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the police department.
Depending on the severity of the accident, the police may or may not file an official report. Either way, note the name, badge number, and contact number of the officer you speak with in case your insurance company needs to follow up with them.
Track Down the Driver
Because Massachusetts is a modified no-fault state, a driver can be held responsible for accidents that are judged to be over 50% their fault. If the hit-and-run driver in your accident was over 50% responsible for the incident, you could potentially file a lawsuit against them with the help of an experienced attorney.
However, this is only possible if the identity of the driver is known. The information you collected at the accident scene is the most valuable resource for helping you find the driver. If you didn’t manage to gather this evidence at the time, go back to the site of the accident and ask around for any eyewitnesses that could help.
File An Uninsured Motorist Claim with Your Household Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy
You may be covered under your own or a household member’s motor vehicle insurance policy. In Massachusetts, uninsured motorist coverage is compulsory, which means all insurance policies must contain that coverage. Although you are making your claim against your own insurance policy, your insurance company’s position is entirely averse to you. You’re actually going against each other and they often don’t hesitate to treat you this way. Since your claim is a contractual claim, you are required to honor the terms of your policy, and that can be very tricky navigating on your own.
Dealing with the aftermath of any road accident is extremely stressful, especially if you have been severely injured. The last thing you need is to chase insurance claims when you should concentrate on recovering.
If you have been hit by someone who drove off in the Boston area, contact the experienced Boston hit and run accident attorneys of Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation. There’s no Obligation, Just Information ®