The audacity of someone who would flee the scene after causing an accident is almost inconceivable. Without checking to see if you needed medical attention, the other driver backed up and drove off. It is almost unimaginable that fearing the trouble such an accident may bring is more important than rendering aid to someone who may be suffering life-threatening injuries.
Whether you were walking, biking or in another vehicle at the time of the accident, if you suffered injuries in a hit-and-run, you are likely wondering what to do next. Above all, your primary concern should be seeking medical attention. Beyond that, everything you do can aid police in their investigation and begin building your case for recovering your losses.
Don't play cop!
If it is not within your nature to run away from someone who needs help – even if you were responsible for their pain – you may not understand the reasons why a driver would flee the scene of the accident. The excuses are many, including:
- The driver did not have insurance required by New Jersey law.
- The driver was texting or otherwise distracted when the accident occurred.
- He or she had been drinking before getting behind the wheel.
- He or she was on probation or was fleeing the scene of a crime.
Because you may not know the true reason for the hit-and-run driver's haste to get away, it is wise not to try chasing or following him or her. Instead, if you are able, see and remember as much of the vehicle as you can, including the color, make and model. If you can get any part of the license plate or description of the driver, that will help investigators, too.
What to do next
Your safety and health are critical, so calling for New Jersey police and medical responders should be your first concern. While you wait for help to arrive, there are some steps you can take. If you are unable to move because of your injuries, you may be able to enlist the help of witnesses or bystanders:
- Take pictures or draw sketches of the scene and the damage to your vehicle.
- Gather the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Write down exactly what happened.
- As soon as you are able, contact an attorney who will help you take steps toward financial recovery.
When you are home from the hospital, begin assembling a file for the accident. This should include your notes from the scene, any photos, medical reports, repair estimates and insurance claims. Make copies of every document related to the accident. This will help your attorney build a case for compensation if the driver is caught or if you must struggle with denied insurance claims.