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Tips for Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents

Posted on in Motor Vehicle Accidents

hit and run accidents, Chicago personal injury lawyerLeaving the scene of an accident is against the law. In the state of Illinois, hit-and-run drivers can be sentenced to anywhere from three years to 15 years in a state penitentiary, and face fines of up to $25,000. Unfortunately, this is not always enough of a deterrent for drivers that may have already broken the law, either by driving intoxicated or operating a vehicle without proper licensing or insurance. As such, it is important to know what to do if you are ever the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

What Not to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

Probably just as important as knowing what to do in the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident is knowing what not to do. The most important is to not flee the scene yourself. This includes attempting to chase after the other driver. Instead, find somewhere safe (and outside of your vehicle) to wait for the police to arrive. And, if at all possible, do not block traffic.

Collect as Much Information as You Can

Attempt to gather information about the other driver, including:

  • Gender, age, hair color, etc.,
  • License plate number, and
  • Make, model, and color of car.

If at all possible, take photos of the accident and try to gather as much evidence as possible. Also, if you can, write down anything you remember from the accident. With the experience still fresh in your mind, you are less likely to forget important details.

You will also want to collect names and contact information from any witnesses to the accident. These people can be crucial to any future claims regarding your accident, so keep track of this important information by either using a smartphone to email the information to yourself or putting the information in a safe place.

Report the Accident to the Police

The police play an important role in the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident. They can investigate and examine the scene, help with cleanup to make the road safe for drivers again, provide legal documentation for the accident through a police report, and even help locate the hit-and-run driver. They will also gather information from witnesses and take statements from you and all witnesses.

Seek Medical Help

Oftentimes, victims of car accidents fail to notice signs and symptoms of injuries, or they may underestimate the severity. For this reason, it is important to be examined by a physician, even if you do not think you have been injured. This can increase your odds of a positive outcome from any injuries, and it provides medical documentation of when and where the injuries originated from.

File a Claim with the Insurance Company

Once you have cared for your immediate needs, it is time to file a claim with the hit-and-run driver’s insurance company. You will want to do this as soon as possible. If they do not have insurance, you will need to either rely on uninsured or underinsured insurance with your policy, or sue the driver in civil court.

Contact an Attorney

Regardless of whether you are filing against the other driver’s insurance, your insurance, or taking your case to civil court, it is important that you contact an attorney very early on in the process. Insurance companies will often try to blame the victim, or will attempt to find other ways to deny claims. If they cannot do this, they will do their best to reduce the amount of your settlement.

A qualified Chicago hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and get you the compensation you deserve. With more than 20 years of experience, Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. has the kind of resources and expertise you need to build your case. For a free consultation, call 312-553-4900. Source:
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