If you’ve watched “I Know What You Did Last Summer” as a kid, then you have a pretty good idea of how hit-and-run accidents happen. It can happen to anyone, even the most well-meaning person. Say, for example, you spilled coffee on your lap. The split-second act of putting down the cup in the holder will take your eyes off the road. Then suddenly, a person steps in front of you. The next thing you know, there’s a loud bang in your car and you watch as a pedestrian fly due to the impact of the crash.
You might feel the need to just run away when that happens. If you’re in a secluded area, you’ve heard the stories about people pretending to have been hit by a car. Your reaction will be a mix of fear and worry. So, what’s the first thing that you should do?
Don’t Leave the Scene
If you don’t feel comfortable about going out of the car, the least you can do is call 911. Many drivers might be scared that the “accident” is a ruse to get them out of the car in the middle of the night. Signal to passing cars that you need help with the victim. If you’re in a secluded area with no one around, turn the headlights on and crack your windows a bit. If you are sure no one is around you, get out of the car and see if you can provide first aid relief to the victim.
Once the police and paramedics arrive, you can alight from your car and face the accident. Tell the police everything that happened—from the moment you spilled your coffee up to the time they arrived on the scene. What did you do? What were the steps that you took? Do not ever leave the scene. Doing so will add to your legal troubles.
Call Your Lawyer
By this time, it is best to call your car accident attorney. Whether the victim was fatally injured or not, you have to know what legal implications this accident has on you. A lawyer will need to know everything that happened. This is the right time to talk to a lawyer since your memory is still fresh and not muddled. Try to tell your lawyer everything. This is why it’s important to hire someone you trust. You can only be at ease telling a lawyer what just happened during the accident if you know they can be trusted.
Go to the Hospital
The police won’t let you drive to the hospital yourself. Give the police your keys because they’ll take the car to the station for an initial investigation. A separate ambulance will take you to a hospital for a medical check-up. Have your insurance ready. Once in the hospital or even on your way to the hospital, call your friends or family. They need to know that you’re okay and that you might need them to pick you up in the hospital.
If you are a flight-risk, the police will not leave your side. They need all the information they can get from you. But remember that you can refuse to answer their questions until your lawyer arrives. The lawyer will guide you on how to answer the police’s queries. You have the right to seek medical attention before you provide the police with more information about the accident. By this time, it is important to make sure you do not have a head concussion, brain injury, and broken bones.
Talk with the Police
A few hours after the accident, you are calmer and more composed. Your lawyer should be with you, so you can begin dealing with police questioning. They will want to have your documents—car registration and driver’s license. They’ll need your full name, address, and contact number so they can file the appropriate report. You will most likely face a legal case, so it’s best to accept the fact that this will be a long battle.
Cooperate as much as you can with the police. Nothing good will come out of arguing with them. They are not the ones who hit the victim. Even if the victim was in the wrong, this isn’t the right time to defend your actions. The court will rule in your favor if the evidence points out that you are not liable for the accident. However, as early as now, your lawyer should prepare you for the battle ahead.
Hit-and-run accidents are the worst thing that can happen to anyone. It helps to know your rights, though, and to make the right decisions from here on. The legal battle for these kinds of cases is always a stressful, expensive, time-consuming, and guilt-ridden experience. You may need to seek professional help for your mental health, too.