Car accidents can be overwhelming and distressing experiences, but when the responsible party flees the scene, the situation becomes even more challenging. Hit and run accidents, unfortunately, are not uncommon in New York and New Jersey. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to know what to do and how to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. In this blog post, The Law Offices of Raffi T. Khorozian P.C. will guide you through the steps to take after a hit and run accident, helping you understand your rights and options.
1. Stay Calm and Safe
The first and most important thing to do after a hit and run accident is to stay calm. While it’s natural to feel panicked or angry, maintaining your composure is essential for your safety and the safety of others involved. Ensure your vehicle is in a safe position if possible, and turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
2. Gather Information
If it’s safe to do so, try to gather as much information as possible about the fleeing vehicle. Note down the make, model, color, and license plate number if you can. Additionally, take note of any distinct features or damages to the other vehicle.
3. Contact the Police
Immediately call 911 to report the hit and run accident. Provide the dispatcher with all the information you’ve gathered about the fleeing vehicle. The police will investigate the incident and create an official report, which will be crucial for your insurance claim and potential legal action.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t initially feel seriously injured, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly after a hit and run accident. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, and a medical evaluation can document your injuries for future reference. Delayed treatment could also weaken your compensation claim.
5. Gather Evidence
While waiting for the police to arrive, take the opportunity to gather evidence at the accident scene. This includes taking photos of the damage to your vehicle, any injuries you’ve sustained, and the overall accident scene. Collect contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident.
6. Notify Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the hit and run accident. Provide them with all the details you have, including the police report number and any witness information. Your insurance policy may cover hit and run accidents under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
7. Consult with a Lawyer
Navigating a hit and run accident case can be complex, especially when you’re trying to recover from injuries and deal with the emotional aftermath. This is where a skilled car accident lawyer can be invaluable. They can help you understand your legal options, deal with insurance companies, and work towards seeking compensation.
8. Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In many hit and run cases, the fleeing driver may not have insurance or cannot be identified. In such situations, your uninsured motorist coverage can come to your rescue. This coverage can help compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
9. Investigating the Accident
Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the hit and run accident. This may involve examining surveillance footage from nearby cameras, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts if necessary. Identifying the responsible party is crucial to pursuing compensation.
10. Legal Action
If the hit and run driver is identified, your lawyer can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against them. If the driver is not found, your lawyer will guide you through the process of making an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company.
11. Compensation for Damages
In a successful hit and run accident claim, you may be eligible for compensation for various damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs
12. Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that there is a limited time frame, known as the statute of limitations, within which you can file a hit and run accident claim. In both New York and New Jersey, it’s crucial to adhere to these time limits, which can vary depending on the circumstances of your case.
Hit and run accidents can be frustrating and disheartening, but you don’t have to navigate the aftermath alone. The Law Offices of Raffi T. Khorozian P.C. are here to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Remember to stay calm, gather information, and contact the police and your insurance company immediately after a hit and run accident. Seeking legal representation is a crucial step in maximizing your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries and damages. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for expert guidance and support during this challenging time.
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