Most of us know in our heart of hearts that if we were to ever hit a pedestrian while driving, we would stop our car, call 911, and render aid to the person lying on the street. Sadly, however, it seems that many people are capable of hitting a pedestrian and leaving them on the street seriously injured or even dead.
There have been a lot of news reports about hit and runs lately, and some have even involved children being hit on their way to or from school while getting on school buses. We hear reports of drivers speeding off leaving the scene of the crime only to be caught later, arrested, and usually sentenced to jail or prison.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run, and the person who hit you fled following the accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. If you are involved in a hit and run accident, there are some steps you can take to collect as much information as possible for the insurance companies and any legal representation you may hire.
Hit and Run is a Crime
In all fifty states and Washington D.C., it is a crime to leave the scene of a car accident. Some states refer to these accidents as “hit and run” or “hit and skip,” but whatever the case may be, hitting a pedestrian, a bicycle, a motorcycle, or another car and then fleeing the scene of that accident is a serious criminal offense punishable by fines, loss of a driver’s license, and jail time. When a death occurs because of the hit and run, or if alcohol or drugs played a part in the accident, the guilty party may face a lengthy prison sentence.
Many people who are guilty of hit and run accidents get caught because of the many security cameras on roadways, businesses, and residences recording the day’s events 24/7. When you consider the fact that virtually every adult and many children are walking around with cell phones with video recording capabilities, not much goes unnoticed these days. If you hit someone and leave the scene, there is a very good likelihood that you will eventually be caught. The penalty for a hit and run is much more severe than it would be had you simply stayed at the scene of the accident and called 911.
What to do at the Scene of the Hit and Run
Car accidents are stressful, and when there are injuries, it’s even worse. Try to stay calm and follow these tips if you are involved in a hit and run accident.
- Check yourself and passengers for injuries
- Call 911
- Gather your information including driver’s license, registration, proof of insurance, etc.
- Jot down as much information as you possibly can about the other car and driver (there may be nothing to recall if it happened quickly and you didn’t see the other car drive off)
- Take pictures of your vehicle from as many angles as possible
- Take photos of your injuries
- Take pictures of the surrounding area including road signs, traffic lights, any debris that may be in the road, any surrounding landmarks like buildings or trees, etc.
- Provide the police a truthful, accurate account of what occurred
- Get names and other contact information of any eyewitnesses who may have seen or recorded the accident
- Contact a car accident attorney and schedule a consultation
Hit and run is a serious criminal offense, and to say it’s immoral is an understatement. If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run in Southern California, please contact Sheridan & Rund, PC to schedule a no-cost consultation.