If you have been injured in a hit and run accident in Bakersfield, there are some steps you should try to take as soon as possible. While you are facing a difficult situation, you may still be able to recover your losses, and it will be important for you to do everything you can to seek just compensation.
An experienced car accident lawyer can assist you with many aspects of a claim after a hit and run. Here are seven important steps you should follow:
Step #1: Call 911
After a hit and run accident in Bakersfield, you should call 911. This is something you should do after any type of collision, but it is especially important when the other driver flees the scene.
If you are no longer at the scene of the accident, you can call the Bakersfield Police Department’s non-emergency phone number: (661) 327-7111. Provide the dispatcher with as much information as you can, and be sure to carefully follow any instructions he or she provides.
Step #2: Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
When you suffer injuries in a car accident, seeking prompt medical treatment is important for protecting both your health and your legal rights. If you have not yet seen a doctor, you should do so as soon as possible. Tell your doctor that you sustained your injuries in a car accident (so that this can be reflected in your medical records) and fully describe all of your symptoms.
Before you leave your doctor’s office, make sure you know your next steps (i.e., waiting for test results or scheduling a follow-up appointment). Follow your doctor’s advice, and keep all records you receive related to your medical care.
Step #3: Contact a Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer
When seeking to identify a hit and run driver, time is of the essence. With this in mind, in addition to calling the Bakersfield Police Department, you should also contact a Bakersfield car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will be able to coordinate with the police and use additional investigative means in order to try to determine who hit you. Your lawyer will also be able to advise you what to do (and what not to do) as you pick up the pieces.
In addition, an experienced attorney can discuss all of your options for recovering the compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances, these options may include:
- Identifying the hit and run driver;
- Pursuing a third-party claim (i.e., for a vehicle or road defect); and/or
- Filing a claim under your Med Pay or UMC policy (or both).
The best-case scenario after a hit and run is finding the at-fault driver and filing a claim for negligence. Barring this, you may have recourse to your own insurance coverage.
Step #4: Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Shortly after your hit and run accident, you should report the accident to your insurance company. You can tell your claims representative that the other driver fled the scene, but at this point you should avoid discussing how you think the collision happened or who you think may have been to blame. Stick to the facts, and let your lawyer be the one to deal with fighting to recover just compensation.
Step #5: Identify Your Insurance Coverage Options
If it is not possible to identify the hit and run driver, then you may need to seek coverage under your own auto insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) can defray some of your losses from the accident, while Med Pay insurance can help pay medical bills associated with your injuries.
Both of these policies are optional forms of coverage in California. You will need to review your policy (or have your lawyer review your policy) in order to determine what coverage you have available.
Step #6: Work with Your Lawyer to Prove Fault and Damages
Regardless of what type(s) of claim(s) you have, you will need evidence of both fault and damages. It will be important for you to work closely with your attorney to ensure that he or she has all of the evidence necessary to help you recover just compensation.
Step #7: Do Not Give Up On Your Accident Claim
Finally, while dealing with the aftermath of a hit and run accident can be difficult, you should not give up hope. You have clear legal rights, and your lawyer can help you fight to recover the maximum compensation on your behalf.
Injured in a Hit and Run? Contact Accident Lawyer Mickey Fine Today
If you were injured in a hit and run accident in Bakersfield, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Mickey Fine has been serving clients in a wide variety of motor vehicle accident claims for more than 30 years.
Please call (661) 333-3333 today for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Mickey Fine serves clients in Bakersfield, and nearby areas of California.