Hit-and-run accidents are terrifying for anyone involved. This includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The aftermath of a hit-and-run accident can be confusing, but there are several steps that individuals should take after these incidents occur to help ensure that they protect their well-being and their chances of recovering compensation.
1. Never go After the Hit and Run Vehicle
The number one thing that you need to know right after a hit-and-run accident occurs is that you should never chase the vehicle that struck you. Yes, it can be incredibly tempting to try and chase down the vehicle, particularly if you are angry at them for leaving the scene. However, chasing a hit-and-run driver could lead to disaster, not just for yourself but for others on the roadway. You know nothing about the other driver or why they are leaving the scene, and chasing them could lead to a road rage incident or a serious accident.
2. Dial 911 and Talk to the Dispatcher
Try and remember as many details about the vehicle that fled the scene as possible. Dial 911 and talk to the police dispatcher. Let the dispatcher know where the incident occurred as well as any information you remember about the other vehicle and driver, including the make, model, and color of the vehicle, what the driver looked like if you could see, as well as the direction they left in. Let the police handle apprehending the hit and run driver.
3. Check for Injuries
You need to check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If you have sustained an injury, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If the injuries are severe, take an ambulance to the hospital. Even if the injuries do not seem severe, you need to be checked out by a doctor that same day. You need to make sure that there is a strong link between any injuries you sustain and the crash because insurance carriers will be looking for how quickly you went to the doctor.
4. Call Your Insurance Carrier
You should call your insurance carrier to report the hit-and-run accident. Do you have uninsured motorist coverage? Even though this coverage is not required in New Mexico, we strongly encourage all drivers to purchase this relatively inexpensive add-on to their insurance policy. You could use uninsured motorist bodily liability injury coverage and property damage coverage to help pay for injuries or vehicle damage.
5. Contact an Attorney
You need to reach out to a skilled hit-and-run driver accident attorney in New Mexico who can help you with your claim. An attorney will examine the facts of the case and explore all possible avenues of compensation. This will include filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver if they are apprehended. The other driver may have auto insurance, or they may not. One of the main reasons that drivers flee the scene of accidents is because they do not have the required insurance.