Hit and Run Attorney Des Moines IA Trusts Explains What to Do If You Are a Victim of a Hit and Run
Hit and run car accidents are just that – a negligent driver “hits” someone then “runs” or flees the scene. Iowa law dictates that if you are involved in an accident – you must stop! The law applies in situations where there is only property damage as well as cases involving injury up to and including cases in which there is a fatality.
Even though that is the law of the land, unfortunately, there are times when negligent drivers choose to flee. Excuses range from, “I didn’t know I was in an accident” to “I have a warrant and didn’t want to get caught” and everything in between.
Car accidents, no matter how minor, induce annoyance and anger. That frustration climbs to a new level when the driver who hit you takes off, leaving you to pick up the pieces alone.
The team of Des Moines Injury Law.com is here to help you stay calm and move your case forward. A Des Moines hit and run attorney understands how frustrating these cases are, and offers the following mistakes to avoid in the aftermath of your hit and run crash.
Don’t Chase the Other Driver
If your car is still driveable, it may be tempting to take off and chase the other driver. Don’t give in. Stay at the scene and document the accident. We STRONGLY suggest you DO NOT try to track down the other driver or follow him or her. The ramifications of such action could be worse than the initial crash. Let the police do the investigating.
Chasing the other driver could create a dangerous situation:
- You may drive recklessly, leading to charges against you even though the original crash was not your fault.
- It’s possible you could get into a second crash, which again could lead to charges against you even though the first crash was not your fault.
- The other driver may become angered and believe you are retaliating. This could lead to a dangerous road rage encounter.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Stay at the scene and document the crash. Write down everything you can remember about the other vehicle and its driver. Make your best effort to get details of the offending car. License plate (even partial) is most helpful but make, model, and color of the car, number of occupants, description of occupants, and any other detail you can observe is beneficial as well. Some insurance policies may void the coverage needed to make such a claim if you fail to make a reasonable attempt at obtaining the needed information. In a situation when the other driver does stop, we recommend obtaining the above information as well as the VIN in case the offending driver provides you with false information. Remember, there is no such thing as too much information.
- Take photos of everything. If you can get to your cell phone quickly, take a picture of the other vehicle. As safely as you can, take photos of your car, the location where the crash happened, and any injuries you may have sustained.
- Make note of what is nearby. Are there witnesses to speak to? Are there security cameras that may have recorded the accident?
- Call for help. Even if you don’t believe you are hurt, it’s still important to document the crash with law enforcement. If the damage is minor police may not respond, but you can still file a police report afterward.
- Call your insurance company. Report the basic details of what happened, and explain that you are in the process of filing a police report. Insurance companies aim to spend as little as possible on a settlement, so don’t accept a monetary settlement without first consulting a trusted attorney.
Don’t Skip a Trip to the Doctor’s Office
You may be feeling fine now, but in a few hours or days, you could be feeling bruised and battered. Depending on where and how your vehicle was struck, it may take some time for injuries to become visible.
If you wait to see a doctor, you decrease your chances that the insurance company will consider your injuries to be connected to the hit and run crash. Getting an evaluation right away could not only mean your doctor spots a problem before you see it, but it also means your insurance company will be able to see you have established care immediately.
In Iowa, “uninsured motorist” insurance is optional coverage so it important to understand what you are buying in the way of insurance and it is just as important to have an experienced lawyer review your policy with you if you are involved in such a case. Our hit and run attorneys strongly recommend people purchase uninsured motorist coverage so that you can have your bills covered and be compensated fairly should you be hit by an uninsured driver.
Don’t Think You can do This Alone
We all know that if you’ve caused an accident, the right thing to do is to stop. That’s why it can be unfathomable when the person who hit you doesn’t stop.
There are thousands of drivers on the roads each day in Iowa. And it’s possible the person who hit you may never be found. Don’t take your chances. Contact Des Moines Injury Law.com to set up a free consultation with a hit and run attorney Des Moines IA clients recommend to find out how we can help.