In 2010, just in Los Angeles, CA, there were an estimated 21,000 hit-and-run collisions. Los Angeles has the highest rate in the nation of hit and run accidents at 50 percent. In most areas of the country, you have about an 11 percent chance of being in a hit and run accident, which is still a risk.
Unfortunately, many people are at a loss of what to do when they've been hit by a car that leaves the scene. Here are some tips for if you are involved in such an auto accident:
If you are the victim of a hit and run, stay calm. Although you may be feeling very stressed, the first few moments after an auto accident are critical. The first thing you need to do is get medical help for anyone who is injured. Even if no one is hurt, call 911 for police assistance. Once everyone is safe, gather as much information as you can about the make, model and color of the vehicle that hit you. If there are witnesses, get their contact information. Take pictures of the accident scene and your car.
If you return to your parked car and it has been damaged, you should follow the same procedures as above. Document everything and get as much information as you can. Many people hit an object themselves and try to claim they were a victim of a hit and run. Documentation will protect you if your insurance company thinks you are making a false claim. In either scenario, you will want to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
If you hit a car, always stay at the scene until the police arrive. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident, and your penalties will be much higher should you be the driver in a hit and run. You may face both civil and criminal charges. After you hit an object, you have an obligation to find the owner. If you can't, you should leave your contact information and file a police report. This protects you if anyone claims that you were not diligent in taking responsibility.
Although many states are trying to crack down on hit and run accidents, you can take steps to protect yourself in a worst case scenario. Don't be the one who gets in trouble by leaving the scene of a crime. Make sure that your insurance and license are always up to date. Carry uninsured motorist insurance. If you do have a lot of damage to yourself or your vehicle, contact an auto accident attorney. Even if the other driver does not have insurance, they may have assets that you can go after as remuneration. Don't risk waiting and miss any filing deadlines that void your case.
Meet Colorado Workers' Compensation, Personal Injury and Insurance Dispute Attorney R. Mack Babcock
Prior to founding The Babcock Law Firm, LLC, R. Mack Babcock spent many years on the other side of workers' compensation , car accidents, personal injury and insurance disputes representing some of the largest insurance companies and corporations in Colorado as an attorney at a midsize insurance defense firm.
Babcock is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Workers' Compensation Educational Association. In early 2008, he was elected as the Colorado House District 43 Committee Chairperson for the Douglas County Colorado Democratic Party. In connection with this position, he is responsible for finding a candidate(s) to run for House District 43, overseeing the campaign(s), organizing volunteers, and also sits on the executive committee for the Douglas County Democratic Party.