What to do after a Missouri hit-and-run car accident

Following these tips after a hit-and-run car accident can help you protect your health and your legal rights.

things a person can experience. It's even worse when the driver responsible for causing the accident flees the scene instead of taking responsibility for his or her actions.

If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in Missouri, it is important to understand that you are not without rights. Even if the driver who hit you is never found, you may be able to recover personal injury damages under your own uninsured motorist insurance policy. Uninsured motorist policies are required in Missouri and provide compensation for bodily injury if the policy holder is involved in a car accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

Make a police report and gather evidence

Immediately after a hit-and-run accident, it is important to take steps to preserve evidence and protect your personal safety.

If you are able, try to record as much information as you can about the vehicle that hit you. This could include the license plate number, the vehicle's make and model, and a description of the driver. This information can help the police locate the driver who hit you and may help verify your claim to the insurance company.

Whatever you do, though, do not chase after the driver who hit you. This could put you - and everyone else on the road - in even more danger.

After the accident, call the police as soon as possible to make a report. While you wait for the police to arrive, document the scene of the accident. If you have a camera (or a cellphone with a camera), take pictures of the scene, including things like stop signs and other traffic control signals, skid marks and property damage. If you don't have a camera, try to find a pen and paper in your vehicle and take notes.

Seek medical attention

If you are hurt at all - even a little bit - seek medical attention for your injuries right away. Often, car accident injuries can get much worse with time, and seeking medical attention early increases your chances of recovery. Pay special attention to symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness or confusion, as these can be signs of a traumatic brain injury.

Be sure to follow all of your doctor's recommendations and to seek appropriate follow-up care. Not only does this make it easier for you to get better, but it also increases the likelihood of getting fair compensation from your insurance company if it turns out that you are permanently injured.

Make an insurance claim

Soon after the hit-and-run accident, call your insurance company to make a claim. Give an honest account of what happened, but stick to the basics. Don't agree to make any recorded statements and don't accept any offers of settlement until you have had a chance to talk with an attorney. Your insurance company will likely be searching for ways to minimize the size of the claim it ultimately has to pay, and you don't want to prejudice your claim by accidentally saying something that could be taken out of context.

Contact a Missouri personal injury attorney

If your injuries do not get better after the accident, or if you believe that your insurance company is not treating you fairly, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney. The attorney will be able to review the facts of your case to advise you of your rights and options under Missouri law. If you choose to hire the attorney, he or she will represent you in all dealings with your insurance company to help you achieve the best possible outcome to your case.

Keywords: car accident, hit-and-run, uninsured motorists