How to Report a Hit and Run: Steps to Help Bring the Culprit to Justice

Getting hit by a car is terrifying. But when the driver responsible flees the scene, it adds insult to injury—literally. As you deal with car repairs, medical bills, and lost wages from the crash, you’re also left wondering if the at-fault motorist will ever be held accountable.

Taking the proper steps immediately following the crash can help law enforcement track down the hit-and-run driver.

Here’s what to do if you are ever the victim of a hit-and-run.

Step 1: Stay Safe and Smart At the Scene

If you’re able to do so safely, the first thing to do is pull over and call 911. Provide the dispatcher with your precise location and a description of what happened. Request that police and medical assistance be sent to the scene.

While waiting for first responders, do what you can to document evidence. Take photos of damage to your vehicle, skid marks on the road, car parts or debris left behind, and anything else relevant. If any witnesses saw the collision occur, get their contact information.

If you or anyone else involved is injured, do not move them unless absolutely necessary. Wait for paramedics to arrive and properly immobilize them before transporting them to the hospital. Administer basic first aid only if you are properly trained and qualified to do so.

Try to gather identifying details about the at-fault vehicle. Note the color, make, model, and any other distinguishing characteristics. Did you happen to see the license plate number? Even a partial plate can assist police in tracking down the driver.

Step 2: File a Police Report

As soon as possible after the crash, you’ll need to file an official report with the police department. Provide the responding officer with all the details you documented at the scene. The report creates an official record of the incident that can be used later if you need to make an insurance claim or take legal action.

In West Virginia, it is required by law that any accident which results in injury, death, or property damage over $1,000 be reported to law enforcement. Hit-and-run collisions always need to be reported, regardless of the damage amount.

Be sure to get a copy of the police report for your records. Follow up with the investigating officer or department regularly to check for any progress in locating the at-fault motorist. The sooner they are identified, the better.

Step 3: Report to the DMV

In West Virginia, it’s mandatory to file a report with the DMV when an accident results in injury, death, or total property damage of $500 or more. Additionally, to obtain a Vehicle Crash Report, you can contact the West Virginia State Police Department directly. These steps are crucial in ensuring all legal requirements are met and can aid in the resolution of any subsequent claims or legal actions.

Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Provider

Another important call to make is to your auto insurance agent. Even if you don’t plan to file a claim just yet, alerting them of the incident starts a paper trail. This ensures you comply with any time limits outlined in your policy.

Your agent can also explain what coverage options may be available, like uninsured motorist protection. If you do decide to open a claim, the process may help pay for car repairs, medical treatment, a rental vehicle while yours is in the shop, and other accident-related expenses.

Provide your insurance company with documentation like the police report, photos from the scene, and any witness statements you collected. Keep track of all bills and receipts related to the claim.

Step 5: Seek Compensation From the At-Fault Driver

Once the hit-and-run motorist has been identified, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages through insurance claims or filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Depending on the extent of your damage, an experienced West Virginia hit-and-run lawyer may be able to help you figure out what legal options are available. They can handle negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf or represent you in court if a satisfactory settlement can’t be reached.

Don’t settle with the at-fault driver’s insurer too quickly. Fully evaluate your injuries and vehicle repairs before signing any release of claims. Your attorney can advise you on whether a settlement offer is fair and covers your losses sufficiently.

Step 6: Contact a Clarksburg, WV, Car Accident Lawyer

Being the victim of a hit-and-run collision can leave you feeling violated and overwhelmed. But by focusing first on urgent medical needs and then promptly reporting the incident to law enforcement and your insurance provider, you put yourself in the best position to hold the responsible party accountable. With a hit-and-run attorney as your advocate, justice is within reach.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit-and-run in West Virginia, contact The Miley Legal Group for a free consultation with their experienced team. They can help you recover damages so you can move forward.

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