- Four Vital Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident
- August 24, 2017
What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a ‘hit and run’ accident? Perhaps you believe that hit and runs are very rare, and something like this could never happen to you. Or maybe you believe hit and runs only occur in big cities like New York City and Los Angeles. However, while New Jersey is the fourth smallest state in America, it’s also one of the most densely populated, making it relatively common to be involved in a hit and run accident.
Individuals who flee the scene of an accident do so for several reasons: they’re either uninsured, unlicensed, or may even have a warrant issued for their arrest. Whatever the reason, if you’re ever involved in a hit and run accident in New Jersey, there are a few vital steps to take.
First, get whatever descriptive information you can from the fleeing vehicle — color of the car, make, model, description of the driver, etc. This information is of great importance in both locating and identifying the individual who fled.
Second, do not attempt to run down or chase the vehicle responsible. Being involved in any kind of car accident can make your adrenaline pump, so you will naturally experience some degree of intense emotional frustration, but try to remain calm. Attempting to run down or chase the perpetrator will only exacerbate the problem, and could end up doing more harm than good.
Third, contact the police and make a report of the incident as soon as possible. Be sure to give the full story with as much detail as you can provide, and include any and all descriptive information you were able to obtain. It is very important to have a police report that corroborates the fact that there was another vehicle responsible for the cause of the accident.
Why is this important? Because in New Jersey, we have mandatory Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and Underinsurance (UIM) for policies that contain liability insurance. That is, we’re covered by our own policies even if we can’t find the phantom vehicle that caused the accident (UM coverage), or if the identified vehicle that has a limited amount of coverage (UIM).
Additionally, in New Jersey there is no requirement that there even be an “impact” between the offending vehicle and the injured prospective party (in New York and some other states, “impact” is required). In other words, we’re already paying for insurance coverage for injury or damage caused by an unknown or underinsured party.Finally, after a hit and run accident occurs, it is crucial to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Doing so is the most effective way to ensure that your rights are protected, and you receive the compensation you may be entitled to post hit and run.