What to Do When You’re Involved in a Hit and Run

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What to Do When You’re Involved in a Hit and Run in South Australia

Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be a shocking and unsettling experience. It’s important to know what steps to take to protect your health, secure evidence, and prepare for any potential legal and insurance claims. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to handle a hit-and-run incident in Adelaide.

Immediate Actions Post-Accident

  1. Ensure Safety: The first priority in any vehicular accident is safety. If you’re involved in a hit and run, assess yourself and any passengers for injuries. Move to a safe location away from traffic if possible. Remember, safety comes first before gathering evidence or assessing vehicle damage.
  2. Document the Scene: If you can, take immediate photos of your surroundings, the damage to your vehicle, and any injuries sustained. This will be crucial for police reports and insurance claims. Try to jot down everything you remember about the other vehicle and driver including the color, make, model, and any part of the license plate number you can recall.
  3. Gather Witness Information: If there are any bystanders who witnessed the accident, gather their contact details and ask for their account of what happened. Witness statements can be incredibly valuable to both law enforcement and insurance investigators.

Legal Obligations

  1. Report the Accident: You must report the accident to the police immediately. In Adelaide, and Australia more broadly, failing to stop and exchange details after an accident is a criminal offence, and reporting it can aid in tracking down the responsible party. The police report will also be an essential document when making an insurance claim.
  2. Legal Consequences for Fleeing: It’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident in Australia without providing contact and insurance details. Those found guilty of a hit-and-run face significant penalties, including fines and potential imprisonment, depending on the severity of the accident.

Seeking Medical Attention

  1. Immediate Medical Care: Even if no injuries are apparent, it’s advisable to visit a doctor after an accident. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal bruising, might not be immediately obvious.
  2. Documenting Medical Treatment: Keep all records of medical visits and treatments related to the accident. This documentation will be necessary when you file an insurance claim or if legal action is required.

Insurance and Compensation

  1. Contacting Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with the police report number, your documentation of the accident, and any witness statements you collected.
  2. Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If the fleeing driver isn’t identified, you might still be able to claim through your uninsured motorist coverage. This part of your policy is specifically for incidents where the at-fault driver is not known or uninsured.
  3. Nominal Defendant Claims: In South Australia if the other party cannot be identified, a claim can be filed against the Nominal Defendant, a government-established entity that compensates victims in such cases. It’s crucial to file this claim within the statutory time limits, typically within six months from the date of the accident.

Role of Legal Assistance

  1. Hiring a Lawyer: A personal injury lawyer can provide invaluable assistance, especially in complex hit-and-run cases. They can help navigate the legal processes, deal with insurance claims, and ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your injuries and damages.
  2. The Legal Process: Understanding the legal process, including the expected timelines for insurance claims and court proceedings, can help set realistic expectations and prepare you for the journey ahead.

Preventative Measures

  1. Prevention Tips: Always be aware of your surroundings and practice defensive driving. Avoid distractions and stay vigilant at intersections and in areas with heavy traffic.
  2. Community Resources: Familiarise yourself with local Adelaide resources for road safety and legal assistance. Knowing where to turn for help can make a significant difference in handling post-accident procedures.

Knowing what to do when involved in a hit and run in Adelaide not only helps in managing the immediate aftermath but also in securing your legal and financial future. Remember to stay calm, collect as much information as possible, and seek professional advice where necessary.

This guide is meant to equip you with the knowledge needed to handle these challenging situations more effectively and ensure that you do not miss out on any entitlements due to you.



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