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Did you know that an estimated 38,824 people in the United States lost their lives in traffic crashes in 2020? Moreover, deaths caused by hit-and-run car accident cases rose by 26% from the previous year.
The figures above show that it’s common for drivers involved in an accident to flee the scene. So if you’ve been in a car crash with such a motorist yourself, it pays to know what you must do immediately after.
This guide discusses the five most crucial steps to take in such incidents, so please read on.
1. Stay Put
You might feel tempted to pursue the fleeing motorist, but it’s something you should never do. One reason is that leaving the scene, even if you are the victim, is against the law in most states.
Instead of trying to catch the other driver, stop your vehicle. If it’s causing road congestion, see if you can maneuver it to the side or a safe spot.
2. Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
Remember: All types of car accidents (even minor ones) can result in severe shock. That can cause hormones to overflow, giving you hysterical strength and diminishing pain. So you might think you don’t have injuries when, in fact, adrenaline is only disguising it.
Thus, it’s imperative to check yourself for injuries from head to toe, even if you don’t feel any pain. Do the same to your passengers and anyone else who might have been in harm’s way.
If anyone is bleeding profusely, has fainted, or got trapped in a car, call 911 without delay.
3. Call the Police
Call the police immediately after checking in on everyone. If there’s a nearby officer, they might be able to pursue the fleeing driver. But, even if they don’t, it still pays to contact them for on-scene assistance.
Moreover, law enforcers may need you to stay at the scene and wait for them. While doing that, gather evidence, such as photographs of your car and the road conditions.
It’s also wise to record everything you can recall before and during the accident. For instance, you might remember the make, model, and year of the car that hit you. You may have even seen the driver; note their gender, hair color, or other distinguishing marks.
4. Get Yourself Checked by a Doctor
Some auto accident injuries, especially internal ones, don’t have symptoms right away. That includes strains, sprains, bone damage, and traumatic brain injuries. Whiplash injuries, affecting over a million people in the U.S. each year, can also have delayed signs.
Since such injuries don’t become apparent right away, it’s best to see a doctor ASAP. The healthcare professional can run tests on you, such as physical exams, X-rays, or MRIs.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury attorneys specialize in car accident cases, including hit and run crimes. They can help by providing investigative and discovery services. That involves interviewing witnesses, obtaining CCTV footage, and collecting medical and police reports.
Thus, hiring an attorney can help from the very start by determining who’s at fault. Your lawyer can then assist in filing a claim and a potential legal case against the defendant.
Seek Help for a Hit-and-Run Car Accident
And there you have it, the guide on what to do during a hit-and-run car accident. The most crucial thing is to stop, check yourself and anyone else for injuries, and call the police. Don’t try to pursue the fleeing motorist, as doing so is against the law, and you might even get into another crash.
After that, visit a doctor and consider hiring a personal injury lawyer for legal help.
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