Hit and run accidents are unfortunately common in Florida, but many drivers and pedestrians are not informed on what to do following the incident. Being a victim of an accident is shocking and having the other driver flee the scene is even more unsettling, which often leads to making decisions in the moment which hurt your ability to recover later by holding that driver accountable.
1) Get to safety
Your first priority after being in a collision is to get yourself and your vehicle to safety to avoid further harm. If possible, move your vehicle from the flow of traffic but not far from the accident scene. If you cannot move your vehicle and are not seriously injured, exit the vehicle and move to a safe location where you will not be in the path of vehicles.
2) Contact law enforcement
After ensuring you are in a safe location, call 911 and report the accident. Try to recall all details about the other vehicle such as its make, model, and color, any identifying decals, stickers, or license plate covers, any portion of their license plate number, the driver’s description, the direction they were headed, and any damage to the vehicle.
3) Talk to witnesses
Witness statements are important in a hit and run investigation when they can be obtained. If possible, you should communicate with any pedestrians, business patrons, or drivers nearby who saw the accident occur and ask if they can stay to speak with police. It is especially helpful to ask nearby drivers if they have dash cam footage on their vehicles and if any nearby homes or businesses have video surveillance you and/or law enforcement can obtain.
4) Wait for police to arrive
It is certainly frustrating waiting alone for police to arrive following a hit and run accident. You may wonder if you should have chased the other driver, feel it is pointless to speak with police when few witnesses remain, or simply wish to go home. But, it is important to remain on the scene and cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation in order to increase your chances of being compensated for your damages. Remember that if you leave the scene, you too are fleeing the scene of an accident which is a crime in Florida.
5) Call a personal injury attorney
Hit and run accidents can become complicated insurance claims that you do not want to navigate alone. Insurance companies frequently deny these claims and it may take law enforcement time to locate the other driver. It is important to have an experienced attorney guide you through the process of seeking compensation and represent your interests against the insurance companies.