All auto accidents are upsetting, but your distress could be even greater if you’re in a hit-and-run crash. If another driver hits you and flees, you may not know what to do or where to turn. How will your injuries be paid for, and what about your damaged vehicle?
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are alarmingly common, with approximately 737,000 occurring annually in the United States. In a hit-and-run with serious injury, you could be left sorting through an expensive calamity, seemingly with no one to hold accountable.
However, a hit-and-run accident can often lead to compensation in a claim or lawsuit, and sometimes the negligent driver can be found. If you were injured in a hit-and-run crash, you can rely on our Nix Patterson hit-and-run car accident lawyers to represent your interests.
A hit-and-run accident is when a driver leaves the scene without identifying themselves. Leaving the scene of an accident in this manner is against the law and could result in a misdemeanor charge. A felony could be charged if there was a severe injury or death in the accident.
If you are hit, and the at-fault driver takes off, write down everything you can about the vehicle, driver, and license plate number, then call the police. The police might be able to track down the driver. If they do, you may be able to file a claim on their auto insurance policy. Failing that, you still could file a claim on your insurance policy if you have underinsured or uninsured driver protection.
Also, tell your car accident attorney that it was a hit-and-run accident. They can discuss your legal options with you, depending on whether the other driver is found.
Most states have serious consequences for hit-and-run drivers who do not stay at the scene and identify themselves. So, why would a driver run away from a crash scene? Many drivers fear what they will have to pay for a car accident they caused, while others may want to avoid potential criminal charges. Other possible reasons drivers don’t stop at the crash scene are:
Not having auto insurance is a very common reason people do not stay at the scene. But fleeing the scene because of not having insurance will just cause them more problems. You or a witness can remember enough of the vehicle description or plate number to find the driver.
As with any auto accident, hit-and-run accidents can lead to severe injuries, including:
When the other driver flees, you could have difficulty filing a claim with their insurance for your damages. If the police cannot locate the hit-and-run driver, you may have to file a claim on your own insurance. This is why having uninsured and underinsured coverage on your policy is essential.
Many states require you to have a certain amount of this coverage, but not all do. You should always purchase underinsured and uninsured driver coverage and buy more than the minimum amount. If you are in a hit-and-run crash with severe injuries, minimum coverage probably will not pay for more than $25,000 or $30,000 of damages.
After a hit-and-run accident, the first step is to stay at the scene and call the police. Leaving the scene of the crash could cause you to be charged with a misdemeanor in many states. Instead, call the police and wait for them to arrive.
Second, if anyone in your or another vehicle has injuries, call 911. Taking care of any seriously injured people should be the priority. You can worry about your car and other damaged property later.
Third, look at the damage to your vehicle and others, and take video and pictures. The more visual evidence you have of the damaged vehicles and accident scene, the better for your claim later.
Fourth, you cannot get their contact information or name if the other driver fled the scene. Instead, write down anything you remember about the driver, their vehicle, license plate number, or anything else that could be used to identify them. Memories fade quickly, so take note of anything you remember immediately.
Finally, tell your insurance company a hit-and-run driver hit your vehicle. If you have uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage, your policy may cover some or all of your damages. Your hit-and-run car accident attorney can assist with the claim and negotiate the best settlement with your insurance company.
As we noted earlier, if the other driver is not found, your underinsured or uninsured motorist protection can be tapped to compensate you for some or all of your losses. Unfortunately, if your coverage is insufficient, you may have to pay for some damages out of your pocket.
If the police find the hit-and-run driver, your car accident attorney at Nix Patterson can help you obtain compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. These may include:
Whether you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s policy or your own, you should have a personal injury attorney negotiate for the most money for you. Even if you file for your uninsured driver coverage, your insurance company may still not give you fair compensation. Let your attorney handle all insurance negotiations to get you the best compensation.
This article explains what to do after a hit-and-run or leaving-the-scene accident. Here is what you should not do after the accident:
Hit-and-run accidents can be infuriating and stressful, but if you adhere to the advice in this article, you can still have a favorable outcome.
A hit-and-run accident can leave you feeling lost, confused, and overwhelmed. When the at-fault driver takes off, you may wonder if you will ever receive justice for what happened. Let Nix Patterson’s hit-and-run car accident lawyers step in and represent you to obtain the most compensation possible for your losses.
Contact our attorneys today so we can review your hit-and-run case free of charge. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t take payment unless we secure compensation for you.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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