Most people have experienced a small fender-bender. You pull over to a safe area, get out of your car, and exchange information with the other driver. At least, that’s what everyone should do. Some drivers do not have the courtesy to provide their contact and insurance information after an accident and simply drive away.
This is called a hit-and-run, and it is illegal in Missouri. It is crucial to know the steps to follow after a hit-and-run accident, so you know what to do if you are ever the victim of one.
1. Get to a safe place
After a hit-and-run, pull over to the shoulder or another safe area. You do not want another car to hit you and exacerbate the situation. Then, put your hazard lights on that so other cars know you are in distress. If the crash was severe, call the police so they can block off the area and assist you.
2. Seek medical attention
The next step is to get medical treatment for any injuries. If necessary, call an ambulance to take you to a hospital. Keep in mind that not some injuries do not appear immediately after the crash, but take weeks or months to manifest.
3. Get information from witnesses
If there are any witnesses to the crash, obtain as many details from them as you can. Ask them if they remember the perpetrator’s vehicle make and model, license plate number and appearance. You should also get the witnesses’ names and contact information.
4. Document the scene
For insurance purposes, you should document the scene of the accident. Take photographs, or write a detailed description. This information will come in handy when you speak with insurance agents, attorneys or law enforcement.
If you’re in a hit-and-run, you still have options
It is infuriating to think that the perpetrator of a hit-and-run may get away scot free. If the police do find the driver, you have the option of pursuing criminal and civil action. But even if law enforcement can’t apprehend the assailant, you still have legal options. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for damages like car repairs, medical treatment and pain and suffering.