Shock may be one of the first emotions you experience after being in a car accident, but you may also experience surprise or anger, especially if the other driver leaves the scene of the accident. You may be unable to take the necessary steps that you would normally take because you won't be able to exchange insurance information with the other driver.
However, you can take some important steps after you've been involved in a hit-and-run.
1. Record As Much Information As You Can
Accidents can happen very quickly and even if you are not seriously injured, it can take you a few minutes to get your bearings and mentally recover from what has just taken place. As soon as you are able, you need to take note of everything you see, including:
- Make and model of the other vehicle
- License plate number
- Description of the other driver
- What you think happened and more
Pull out your cell phone and immediately begin taking pictures. This will not only help you remember this important information, but the pictures may also record important information you will visibly miss.
2. Call Law Enforcement
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, which means that you are entitled to receive benefits from your insurance company even though you were not at fault during the accident. However, a police report can still be a valuable document when filing your insurance claim or if the police find the other driver.
If you can find the other driver and are able to file a personal injury claim against them, then a police report will be crucial to your personal injury case. The report will help establish your story, giving you and your case more credibility.
If you file a police report, the police will also be able to open an investigation into the hit-and-run. Once the report has been filed, the police will immediately be able to begin looking for the vehicle that hit you, which will hopefully result in the apprehension of the at-fault driver.
3. Collect Witness Information
If anyone witnessed your accident, collect their names and contact information. Remember that you may need them to testify in your personal injury case. Even if a witness's testimony is unnecessary for your trial, the investigator may still want to speak to them at a later date.
Try to ask any witnesses to remain on the scene with you until law enforcement arrives. Doing so will enable the witnesses to provide a first-person witness statement to the police, which would also make sure that the police report records their contact information.
4. Call Your Insurance Company
After you have been involved in any type of auto accident, you need to contact your insurance company immediately and report that you have been involved in an accident. If the police can't locate the other driver, you will have to file a no-fault claim. A no-fault claim will entitle you to many of the same benefits that you would be eligible to receive from the at-fault driver's insurance, including:
- Medical coverage
- Rehabilitative care
- Homemaker services
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Medical mileage and more
The exact benefits you receive will depend on what is spelled out in your insurance policy.
Although your accident may still be under investigation, you should still fill out an application for benefits, which will preserve your no-fault rights and meet the statute of limitations that are in place for filing a claim.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
After your accident, you need to contact a reputable personal injury attorney. Personal injury lawyers have years of experience with hit and run cases and can make sure that you receive the maximum benefits from your insurance company.
If you're located in Southeastern Michigan, give Bernstein & Bernstein a call today for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose since you don't owe us unless we settle or win your case.