Imagine that you and your loved ones have just been involved in an accident. Your pulse is racing, your arms and legs might be shaking from the adrenaline, and you're looking to see that your family is not in immediate medical danger. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you notice the motorist that hit you is pulling away from the scene. You think they might just be moving their car to a safe location--until they speed away.
One of the most traumatic types of accidents you can be involved with is a hit and run. Your financial options are limited if the culprit isn't caught, and it's likely that you're not thinking clearly since you've just been involved in a collision. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common--over 20,000 hit and run accidents happen each year in Los Angeles alone.
The good news is that you can prepare for a hit and run without too much trouble. A few tips and an important item or two can make all of the difference if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
Key Idea #1--Don't Chase
As the offending motorist pulls away, your adrenaline will likely be running high. It's a natural instinct to try and run them down. After all, if they get away clean, you might be stuck with the bill for expensive auto repairs and medical costs.
This is the worst idea you can choose. Under no circumstances should you engage in a car chase--even if you're simply trying to catch up and identify the motorist's vehicle. The last thing you want to do is cause another accident. On top of that, you might not fully understand the extent of the injuries to yourself and your passengers. Stay put and call the police.
Key Idea #2--Keep a Notepad In Your Car
In any insurance claim, details are an important part of the process. The better you are at capturing all of the relevant and important information from the scene of the accident, the more likely you are to have a smooth claim process. Also, in more contentious situations, you'll be better able to advocate for your legal rights if the story of the accident is questioned.
However, your brain isn't well-equipped to catch details after a tragic event. Scientists have discovered that your brain goes into a basic functioning mode when dealing with trauma or extreme events. As a result, it's common for accident victims to have distorted memories of the event--or no memory at all.
You won't be able to train your brain away from this phenomenon--but you can pack a notepad and pencil in your glove compartment. After a hit and run, you should start writing down all of the details that you remember after all victims have been checked for injuries. Also, if there are any witnesses, ask them if they remember:
- The make and color of the offender's automobile
- A license plate number
- The driver's actions immediately after the accident
- Any of the driver's physical characteristics
Key Idea #3--Photograph The Scene And Your Car
In an investigation, it's easy to miss key details. This is true even for trained professionals. That's why you shouldn't wait for the police to handle all of your investigating for your. Rather, begin documenting everything you possibly can with your phone. If you do not carry a phone with a camera, you should keep an inexpensive camera in your car with the notepad.
Try to capture the damage to your car from multiple angles. If any objects were struck by either you or the other motorist, photograph that too. Even tread marks on the road should merit a photo or two. After you speak to the police and your insurance company, these shots can be potentially game-changing clues for the investigators.
In some areas, over half of all hit and run accidents go unsolved. While good auto insurance is your best overall defense against the financial losses incurred in these situations, remembering these three key ideas can help increase the odds that the offending motorist is found and that your financial rights are protected.
For more information, visit websites like http://www.mattroenkerinsurance.com.