Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2023 at 9:13 pm
The experience of a hit-and-run is often as bewildering as it is frightening. Not only are you faced with a damaged vehicle, or worse, physical injuries, but you’re also left with an endless stream of questions: “Who was that driver?” “Will they be held accountable?” “How soon will I hear from the police?”. If you’re in this situation, know that you’re not alone. Our hit-and-run accident lawyers in Alabama wrote this blog post to provide some clarity on the question “How long after a hit-and-run will police contact you?”. Let’s dive into the details and, hopefully, alleviate some of your concerns.
What Do Police Do in a Hit-and-Run?
After a hit-and-run incident, you might wonder what the police do to find the culprit. The steps they take factor into how long after a hit-and-run the police will contact you. Broadly speaking, the steps in a hit-and-run accident investigation are:
- Collecting Initial Information: After you report the hit-and-run, the police will arrive at the scene to gather initial evidence and information. This could include your statement about the accident, any descriptions of the other vehicle or driver, and witness accounts if anyone else saw what happened. Even minor details like car color, partial plate number, or fleeing direction can be crucial.
- Physical Evidence Collection: The police will also collect any physical evidence left behind. This might include parts of the other vehicle, paint scrapes on your car, or tire tracks. All these pieces can help the police identify the other driver’s vehicle.
- Surveillance Footage: In today’s high-tech world, surveillance cameras are almost everywhere, from traffic lights to storefronts and homes. Police often utilize these resources to look for recorded footage of the incident or the perpetrator’s vehicle.
- Public Assistance: In some cases, the police might turn to the public for assistance, particularly if they’re struggling to identify the offender. They might release information about the incident to local media or share it on social media platforms, hoping that someone in the community might recognize the vehicle or know something about the accident.
- Database Searches: The police have access to vast databases, including vehicle registration and license plate records. With a partial plate or vehicle details, they can match this against their database to find the offender.
- Follow-Up Investigation: If the police develop any leads or suspects, they will investigate further. They might question the suspect, check their vehicle for damage, and compare it to collected evidence.
After you report the accident, the police will likely contact you once they complete their initial investigation, typically within a few days or weeks. How often you’ll hear from them after that depends on how the follow-up investigation proceeds, the available leads, and whether they catch the driver who fled.
How Long Before Police Stop Investigating a Hit-and-Run?
In Alabama, as in most states, there isn’t a specific time frame for when the police must conclude an investigation. It largely depends on the circumstances of the case, including the severity of the accident, the amount of evidence available, and the workload of the investigative team. Even if the immediate investigation does not yield results, your case isn’t necessarily closed forever. If new information surfaces – say, a witness comes forward, or the police find new evidence – the authorities can always reopen the case.
Bear in mind, though, that while police do their best to solve these cases, not all hit-and-run accidents will result in the offender being found. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have options for recourse. Depending on your coverage, insurance might cover your damages, and a personal injury lawyer can guide you to rightful compensation.
How You Can Help a Police Hit-and-Run Investigation
Dealing with a hit-and-run may feel overwhelming, but certain steps can assist the police investigation. Here’s a quick checklist of actions that could potentially help find the hit-and-run driver:
- Document the Scene: If you’re able, try to gather as much information as possible. This could include the car’s make, model, and color, any part of the license plate number you saw, and the direction the vehicle fled.
- Look for Witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the incident, ask for their contact information. They may have seen something you didn’t, like a different angle of the vehicle or the accident itself.
- Check for Surveillance Cameras: If the incident occurred near a business or residential area, there may be surveillance cameras that caught the event. Notify the police about these potential sources of evidence.
- Keep Records: Maintain a record of any medical treatment or repairs related to the incident. This could be useful for both the police investigation and any potential insurance or legal claims.
If you’re worried about how long after a hit-and-run the police will contact you, our team is here to help you understand the Alabama hit-and-run laws and guide you through the process of filing a hit-and-run claim. Our Alabama car accident lawyers can help you recover the money you need after a hit-and-run, regardless of whether the police catch the other driver. Call (205) 324-1212 today or reach out online for a free consultation.