Most people know that if they are involved in an accident and it is not life threatening they should pull off the main road and into a safe area. Minor fender benders don’t always require calling the police, but if the accident has caused damage or you are feeling any pain at all, it’s wise to contact authorities and possibly 911.

But what do you do when someone hits your car and speeds away? Victims say that a hit and run happens so fast they usually are lucky to even catch a glimpse of the color of the vehicle. After all, no one is expecting another car or truck to come out of nowhere and hit you. When it happens, the best thing to do is focus first on your safety.

While pulling it together and hitting the gas to chase after a hit and run driver might be your first reaction, it’s the wrong reaction, says Atlanta personal injury lawyer David Van Sant.

“If someone is the type of person that would hit your vehicle and then take off without even knowing if you are okay, they aren’t the type of person you want to be chasing down the street” Van Sant says.

Good point, say police officers and others who advocate leaving the police work to the cops. But, if you are in a hit and run and you are not injured, you probably have enough time to capture some valuable information about the other vehicle. First, note the color and make of the car. If you can clearly see the license plate, get it down, but chances are you will be lucky to be able to tell if the car is even from Georgia.

Instead of worrying about the license plate, note the make and model of the car and where it has been damaged. If it hit you with the right front end, make note of that. If you see headlights lying on the highway, note that. The type of damage a vehicle has sustained will help police identify the hit and run driver,

Van Sant says a hit and run accident is one time when a cell phone in a car is a good thing. Use the phone to call the police and make a report. If you can provide police dispatch with information on where the car seemed to be headed, that will help them with a pursuit.

Medical attention needs to be the first thing on your list if you are an accident victim. After that, working wtih an attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are not violated and that you get the restitution you need to get back on your feet after an accident.

Contact David Van Sant at the Law Offices of David Van Sant in Atlanta.

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