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What You Need to Know about Hit and Run Accidents

Read about the steps you need to take if you are involved in a car accident with a hit and run driver

Being the driver or passenger during a car accident is a frightening experience. The only way this experience can be any scarier is if the accident is a hit and run. A hit and run is defined as any incident where the "driver of a vehicle...knowingly fails to stop to give his/her name, license number and other information as required by statute to the injured party, a witness or law enforcement officers."

There are any number of reasons why a motorist would rather leave the scene of an accident rather than do the responsible thing, including panic, being under the influence, driving without a proper license or having a warrant. Unfortunately, the number of hit and run accidents is on the rise according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between 2009 and 2011, the rate of hit and run accidents in major U.S. cities rose by almost 14 percent.

There are three common hit and run scenarios: you hit a car or pedestrian, you hit someone's property and cannot locate them, or you are hit by another person who flees the scene.

You've hit a car or pedestrian—what do you do?!?

First of all, you should never, ever leave the scene of an accident. However, if everyone adhered to this rule, then there would be no need for this list. In the event of an accident, you should do the following:

  • Contact the proper authorities, including medical care for any who are injured
    • You should also wait until the ambulance arrives
  • Willingly provide your information to the other party
  • If the accident occurs where the police cannot come, take anyone who is hurt to the hospital
  • Remember to refrain from admitting fault at the scene of the accident
  • Notify your insurance company and call an attorney to help build your case.

The penalties for fleeing the scene of a car accident you caused are much higher than causing the accident in the first place. In most cases, you could face a large fine and/or time behind bars if convicted. These penalties are on top of the compensation you would owe the person or persons you injured.

You've hit something (car, house, etc.) but can't locate the owner

In the event that you hit someone's property, you need to do your best to try and find the owner. If you are unable to find them, you are required to leave your information so they can contact you. You should also contact the police and file a report.

You've been the victim of a hit and run

Complete shock is the first thing you experience if you've just been hit by a driver who fled the scene. However, if you can remember to do a few things in that moment of panic, you'll save yourself a load of work and money down the road.

  • Try your best to gather as much information about the other vehicle as you can, including:
    • Vehicle type, model and color
    • Whether there were any witnesses
      • You should also try to get their contact information
  • Contact the authorities and your insurance company
  • Contact an attorney with experience with hit and run accidents

Car accidents are never a pleasant experience. This experience is made that much worse if the driver at fault flees the scene. If you've been involved in a hit and run accident, you'll need the assistance of an experienced local attorney.

Please contact Gilreath & Associates to help you build your Tennessee car accident case.

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