A hit and run accident occurs when someone causes a traffic accident and does not stop afterward. It is customary and a rule for those involved in an accident to exchange information. If the accident occurs someplace where the owner of the vehicle or property is not around, it is required that your information be left so they can file a claim and contact you directly. In any instance, if you do not leave information or you do not stop after an accident, it is considered a hit and run.
If you find that you are a victim of a hit and run accident, you do have options.
What To Do After the Accident
Hit and run accidents come in all shapes and sizes. From a rear-end collision where the driver flees the scene to someone hitting your car in the grocery store parking lot without leaving their information, knowing what to do after the accident is the first step toward compensation. As always, safety first. If you are injured in this accident, you should seek out medical attention as soon as possible. If no immediate injuries present themselves, you need to have a police officer come to the scene.
As soon as you realize the driver of the vehicle is not stopping, it is important to take down their information. The make, model, color, and year of the car are helpful pieces of information. If you can write down or get a picture of their license plate, this will aid the police in tracking down the suspect. Try to get any witness information for the report as well.
After the police report has been filed, you will want to obtain a copy from the police department or DMV. Different localities have different procedures on where they are filed. After paying for the copy, you need to check over it for accuracy. If you find an error, you can petition the police department for an amendment.
Even if you are in a fender bender, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. There is something called delayed accident symptoms, which occur after the adrenaline and shock from the accident wear off. If you find that you were injured in the accident, the sooner you have the medical information, the better. A hit and run attorney will advise you to visit the doctor if you have not done so already after a hit and run accident.
Possible delayed accident injuries include:
- Concussion-mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Psychological trauma
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Internal injuries
Why You Need A Lawyer
A lawyer who specializes in hit and run cases knows what steps to take to get you compensated for any injuries or damages you have incurred. A lot of people don’t reach out to a lawyer and settle quickly with insurance, but that does not have to be the case.
Why do people avoid getting legal counsel when they need it?
Excuse #1: They can’t afford legal counsel.
Almost all personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. What this means is that if a personal injury attorney agrees to take your case, they don’t get a dime until you get your settlement or court award. So if the lawyer doesn’t win your case, you don’t owe them anything.
Excuse #2: I don’t have the time to deal with a lawsuit.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit with a firm, the attorney and their staff take over the case as soon as you choose them as your legal counsel. From that point forward, they are your representation, freeing up your time. This free time allows you to recuperate while the staff collects the evidence for your case.
Excuse #3: I don’t have a case.
You won’t know if you have a case or not if you don’t call for a free case evaluation. Case evaluations are there for a lawyer to find out if you do have a case. A personal injury attorney is not going to take your case if they do not think you will win. Start with a phone call.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage on your vehicle, now is the time to add it. If you are involved in a hit and run accident and the driver is uninsured or not found, your insurance coverage could cover all your expenses. If you do not have this coverage and the driver is not found, it is possible you may not be able to have your costs covered.
Uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory on all auto insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. If you do not have this coverage, you may be missing out on protection you should not be going without.
Reasons Why Drivers Run
One of the biggest reasons that a driver will not stay at the scene of an accident is because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Following closely behind this reason are the uninsured motorists. They do not have insurance are do not want to get in trouble with the law, so they flee before they can be caught.
Another reason drivers run from the scene of an accident is because they have warrants out for their arrests already, or they do not have a driver’s license. In some situations, the person may not be a documented American citizen.
Choosing a Hit and Run Attorney
Before speaking to anyone from an insurance company, you must obtain a hit and run attorney. An attorney who specializes in personal injury cases involving hit and run know what you are entitled to and can navigate the legal system for you. An insurance company will more than likely try to settle with you for as little as possible, which may not cover all the expenses you accumulate after the accident. Let the attorneys at TorkLaw give your case a free evaluation so that you can begin to put your life back together after a hit and run accident.