When you are involved in a hit and run accident, it is likely you’ll feel anger and frustration. After all, someone just caused you damage and didn’t even hang around to offer help. In such situations, you may be confused as to how you can make a claim against the responsible driver and get compensation for your bodily injuries and vehicular damages. According to Illinois law, fleeing after an accident which results in personal injury or death is a Class 4 Felony, and is punishable by $20,000 in fines and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
If you are victim of a hit and run, it is best that you stay calm and do the following after the accident:
Resist the Temptation of Chasing the Other Driver
It is understandable that you are tempted to chase the at-fault driver and force them to pull over so that you can get square with them. However, this can make your situation considerably worse than it already is. You do not know whether the other driver was driving irresponsibly due to an emergency or just having a bad day. They might be drunk and armed, and they may become violent.
In addition, with emotions running high, you may not realize the extent of damage to you or your car, which may put your life in danger. The best thing to do is safely pull over and park at the roadside. If possible, note their license plate number, as it is the single-most important piece of evidence that can help the police track down the culprit.
Check for Damages and Injuries
If you notice a headache, back or neck pain, dizziness, or bleeding, you should call emergency services right away and seek medical attention. If you feel fine, evaluate the damage to your car and note it down.
Report the Crime
Next, call the police and report the crime. Try to explain the entire incident to the law enforcement officer in as much detail as possible, and if there are any people nearby, talk to them to get additional information.
While you wait for the police to reach your location, you should document the accident scene and take pictures or make a video of your car and surroundings. Be sure to capture the scene from different angles. In addition, recall how things happened and jot down the description so that you are better able to provide a detailed statement to the police. If possible, try to remember the license plate. Do not try to tamper with the scene as it can lead to legal repercussions down the line.
Inform your Insurance Company
Unfortunately, a majority of hit and run accident victims have to make claims on their own insurance policies if the at-fault driver cannot be apprehended. Everything from medical records and police reports to visual evidence like pictures and videos will help you in filing a claim for your uninsured motorist coverage.
It can be nerve-wracking to get hit by a car and not receive any compensation for your damages. In such a situation, having an experienced auto accident attorney by your side can help you with your personal injury case. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.