Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident

police inspecting damaged vehicle

(Image Credit: Wikimedia.org)

According to a USA analysis (based on NHTSA data) the number of fatal hit and run crashes has been on the rise since 2009.

As an example, in 2009, there were 1,274 fatal hit and run crashes, while in 2011, that number rose to 1,449.  Nearly one in five pedestrian fatalities are caused by hit and run drivers. This rise in hit and run accidents begs the question of why someone involved in an auto accident would flee the scene.

It seems to defy common sense, yet, unfortunately, many people are choosing self-preservation over personal responsibility. The factors which contribute to a hit and run are primarily the number of unlicensed or uninsured drivers as well as those who were under the influence at the time of the accident and want to avoid potential criminal and civil penalties.

The number of unlicensed drivers across the United States is estimated to be in the millions, and an AAA study found that unlicensed drivers are 66.36 times more likely to leave the scene of the accident than a licensed driver. Add to that the fact that Mississippi ranks third in the nation for uninsured drivers, at 22.93 percent, and you can see your risk of being a victim of a hit and run in Mississippi increases exponentially.

What You Can Do Following a Hit and Run Accident in Mississippi

Being in an auto accident is traumatic enough, without being faced with the disappearance of the driver who hit you. While you will certainly be shaken up following an auto accident in which the other driver leaves the scene, there are specific steps you must take for your own protection, including:

Get the License Plate Number

If at all possible, get the license plate number from the vehicle that hit you. Don’t rely on your memory, write the number down, or put it into your phone.

Description of the vehicle

If you are unable to get a license plate number, write down as thorough a description of the other vehicle—and the driver, if you saw him or her—as possible, as well as the direction the fleeing driver went.

Call the police

Call the police immediately. Report the accident, being sure to tell the dispatcher the other driver left the scene. If you saw the license plate number of the other vehicle, relay that information, as well as a description of the vehicle/driver.

Get medical assistance

If you were injured in the accident, seek medical attention. Even if you think you are okay, you should still be checked out in an ER, or by your own physician. Often the rush of adrenaline experienced from an auto accident can mask physical symptoms of an injury.

Contact information from witnesses

If there were witnesses to the hit and run accident, and you are physically able, get their names, addresses and contact information.

Take photographs and record the accident

Take photographs of the scene of the accident—again, if you are physically able—and jot down every detail of the crash you can think of, including the time you called the police for assistance.

Call your insurance company

Whether the other driver is ever identified or not, you must contact your insurance company and report the accident. You may be forced to rely on your uninsured motorist coverage in order to pay for the damages to your vehicle as well as your injuries. Uninsured motorist coverage applies not only when the other driver is identified but has no insurance, but to hit and run accidents as well.

Contact personal injury lawyers

Call an experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney who can take your case on a contingency basis, meaning you will have no out-of-pocket expenses. What you will have is an advocate in your corner who knows how to deal with insurance companies, law enforcement and physicians—and can significantly streamline the post-accident investigation on your behalf.

There are a few “don’ts” as well. Never try to leave the scene yourself in order to catch or confront the other driver. Don’t block traffic while waiting for the police—if your car is blocking traffic and you can safely move it, do so. Don’t wait in your car if it is in an unsafe location—find a safe place to wait for the police. Having a knowledgeable Mississippi personal injury attorney by your side from start to finish can make being the victim of a hit and run significantly less traumatic. Your attorney can handle the legal details of your hit and run while you focus on healing, physically and mentally.

Contact Our Jackson Car Accident Lawyers

If you are involved in a hit and run car accident in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi car accident attorney who will protect your rights and assist you in receiving a fair settlement for your injuries.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi car accident victims – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. We can help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

Record everything about your accident

Use our free claim sheet to record all the important details about your car accident. Having plenty of information about the hit and run will increase your chances of getting a successful compensation claim.

car accident claim document

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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