Every driver in Nebraska has a legal obligation to pull over at the scene of a car accident. Fleeing the scene without stopping is a crime in all 50 states, known as a hit-and-run. Despite it being illegal, many drivers are guilty of driving off after causing accidents. If you get involved in a hit-and-run accident in Omaha, take the following steps to protect your rights in this situation.
Remain at the Scene
Just because the other driver flees the scene does not mean that you should. A hit-and-run is a serious crime that can result in penalties such as jail time. After an accident, pull your vehicle off of the road in a safe location as close to the scene as possible. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers that there has been an accident. If you were struck as a bicyclist or pedestrian, get to a sidewalk or the side of the road, out of traffic, if possible.
Check for Injuries
Find out if the car accident injured you or anyone else involved in the collision. Take a moment to remain still and check yourself head to toe for any pain, immobility, tingling, numbness, or other strange sensations. Search for blood, bruising, and swelling, as well. Keep in mind that many car accident injuries have delayed symptoms that you may not notice right away. When it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle to check if anyone else involved in the crash has been injured.
Call the Police
Call 911 using your cell phone from the scene of the hit-and-run accident. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, no matter how major or minor the accident is, call the police to report it since a crime has been committed. Do not admit fault for the accident when the police arrive. Do your best to provide as much information as possible, including anything that you remember from the crash. This may include a description of the other vehicle, any identifying marks on the vehicle, partial license plate numbers, what the driver looked like, and the circumstances of the crash.
Since the other driver is not available to take legal responsibility for the accident, it is important to collect information that could help you with an insurance claim. Try to gather any evidence of the other driver, even if they have fled. This could mean the other car’s paint at the impact point, a broken piece of the car in the road, or eyewitness statements that corroborate what you saw. Take photographs of the scene of the car accident and your vehicle damage before you leave.
Go to a Hospital
Delaying medical care is a common mistake made by car accident survivors. If you are not seriously injured, you may think that you can wait to see a doctor or not see one at all. This can lead to challenges when processing an insurance claim, however. Many insurance companies will reject claims if the victim waited too long to see a doctor.
File a First-Party Insurance Claim
If the police do not identify or locate the other driver, you may be able to rely on your own car insurance company for coverage. Many drivers have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance on their policies. This type of insurance will cover your medical bills and property damage as if the driver did remain at the scene but did not have car insurance. If you have comprehensive or collision insurance, this can also help you pay for your losses, even if you did not cause the accident.
Contact an Attorney
Making a financial recovery can be difficult in a hit-and-run car accident case. Discuss your recovery options with a car accident lawyer in Omaha as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you with a first-party insurance claim, as well as explore the option of filing a lawsuit against a third party, such as an auto part manufacturer or the government. A lawyer can help you protect your legal rights after this devastating type of collision.