Hit-and-run injuries are often devastating, leaving victims with catastrophic injuries such as lacerations, bruises, broken bones, spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury. And when the perpetrator flees, this often leaves the victims with little recourse in the way of seeking damages from the at-fault party.
With this in mind, New Jersey lawmakers are looking to adopt an emergency alert system to identify and apprehend hit-and-run offenders. Working much like the Amber and Silver alerts, the yellow “Zack Alert” would broadcast messages about the location of a hit-and-run accident, allowing the public to assist in locating the perpetrators of hit-and-run injuries. Systems like this are in place in several U.S. states, including California, Colorado, Maryland, Wisconsin and Nevada.
The bill, A4184, known as Zackhary’s Law, after Zackhary Simmons of Ramsey, N.J., who died in June after a hit-and-run accident.
What Do I Do After a Hit and Run?
- Seek medical attention. Not all car accident injuries are apparent right away, and sometimes the shock and adrenaline rush of car accidents can mask symptoms of injury.
- Collect any witness testimony. Write down the contact information of other drivers or pedestrians who witnessed the accident. This can help identify the at-fault party.
- Gather as much information as you possibly can, including the offender’s license plate number and the car’s make, model and color. Write down which direction the vehicle went, any damage to the other vehicle and take photos of your vehicle damage and your injuries. Write down the time, place and cause of the accident. This information will be useful to police as well as your own insurance company.
- Contact the police and your insurance as soon as possible.
- As tempting as it might be, if the driver flees, do not follow the driver. Leaving will make it difficult to collect witness statements. Additionally, chasing a fleeing driver could lead to reckless driving and potential retaliation from the other driver. Stay put until the police arrive.
Even if you do not know who the other driver is, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage can help you with the immediate costs of a hit-and-run accident in New Jersey. UM/UIM insurance is required in the state of New Jersey, but many people purchase the lowest cost plans, which can be insufficient to cover the medical bills and car repair bills from a hit-and-run. Because of this, it is important to discuss your hit-and-run case with a personal injury attorney.