It’s a scenario that no one ever anticipates – you’re going about your day, and suddenly, your world is turned upside down by a hit-and-run accident. The shock and confusion that follows can be overwhelming, leaving you with endless questions and concerns.
While hit-and-run accidents are undoubtedly stressful, it’s crucial to understand that there is a process for dealing with them, a path towards seeking rightful compensation from the at-fault party.
In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps to take if you find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run crash.
We’ll discuss how to identify the vehicle involved, the legal process to follow, the importance of hiring a car accident injury attorney, and how insurance can play a role in securing the compensation you deserve. Let’s dive in.
A hit-and-run crash occurs when a driver fails to identify themselves, exchange information, or offer assistance to the other party – as required by law – following a motor vehicle crash.
These incidents can leave victims in a challenging situation, unsure of the responsible driver’s identity and without the necessary information to pursue compensation for damages and injuries.
Here are the major steps to follow if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
The moments following a hit-and-run accident can be chaotic, but taking immediate actions can significantly impact the outcome of your case:
First and foremost, check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location to avoid further accidents.
As soon as you can, write down any details about the fleeing vehicle, including its make, model, color, license plate number (even a partial one), and any distinguishing features.
Report the accident to law enforcement immediately. An officer and medical staff will be dispatched to the crash scene to generate the official report. When questioned, provide as much detail as possible, such as the location, a description of the fleeing vehicle, and any information about the driver.
If it’s safe to do so, collect evidence at the scene. Take photographs of your vehicle, the scene of the accident and the surrounding area, any other drivers involved, and any visible damage. Note the time and date of the accident.
Even if you feel fine initially, it’s essential to undergo a medical evaluation. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms until later – like a brain or spinal injury. The medical staff at the scene is trained to identify the early signs of these injuries. Having a medical record at the scene can be crucial for your personal injury claim.
Once these foundational steps are taken, you can move on to identifying the liable party.
Identifying the vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success:
Talk to witnesses who may have seen the accident and ask if they can provide additional information about the vehicle or its driver.
Fortunately, many businesses or homes these days have surveillance cameras – and a nearby one may have captured your accident. Contact the property owners and law enforcement to access this footage. This may be used in the personal injury proceedings later on.
Report all the details you have gathered to the police, and provide any evidence, such as photographs or witness statements regarding the other driver, that may aid in their investigation.
After a hit-and-run accident, it’s essential to follow these legal steps to protect your rights and pursue compensation:
Cooperate fully with law enforcement and file an official police report. This report is crucial for documenting the incident and initiating an investigation.
Notify your insurance company about the hit-and-run accident as soon as possible. Your policy may provide coverage for hit-and-run incidents under uninsured motorist coverage.
Hiring a car accident injury attorney with experience in hit-and-run cases is essential in building the claim and seeking fair compensation. They will guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, advocate on your behalf, and manage negotiations to earn the maximum settlement for your injuries.
Witnesses can play a pivotal role in hit-and-run cases, helping to identify the at-fault driver and provide an objective account of the accident:
Continue to seek out witnesses who may have information about the hit and run. Eyewitnesses who saw the accident or the fleeing vehicle may provide descriptions that lead to the identification of the at-fault driver. These statements can be invaluable in supporting your case.
Witness statements can confirm the details of the accident and strengthen your case when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing a legal claim. If the case goes to court, witnesses may be called upon to testify, adding credibility to your version of events.
The involvement of law enforcement is critical in hit and run cases, as they have the resources and expertise to investigate and pursue the at-fault driver:
Law enforcement will conduct a thorough investigation at the scene of the accident, which may involve canvassing the area for surveillance footage, speaking with witnesses, and collecting physical evidence. Your personal injury attorney will work closely with law enforcement to ensure all available evidence is considered and used to your advantage.
If hit-and-run drivers are identified, they may face criminal charges, such as reckless driving, depending on the circumstances.
In many hit-and-run cases, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages and losses. A personal injury claim can cover:
Your claim can include current and future medical bills related to your injuries. These include your immediate costs, which may involve emergency room visits, surgery, medication, etc. You must also factor in future treatment. Perhaps you will need physical therapy or ongoing medication for your injury. Your auto accident claim should account for all of this.
If your injuries prevent you from working, you may seek compensation for lost income.
Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and emotional distress, can also be part of your claim. These damages are challenging to put a price tag on. You will need to work with a skilled car accident injury attorney to calculate a reasonable dollar amount.
Repairs or replacement of your vehicle can be included in your claim.
Insurance plays a crucial role in hit-and-run accidents, and understanding your policy is essential:
If the at-fault driver cannot be identified or does not have insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage may provide compensation for your injuries and damages. Check with your insurance company to determine if they have this type of coverage to file an uninsured motorist claim.
You and your auto accident attorney will work closely with your insurance company – and the one of the at-fault party – to provide them with all necessary information and documentation. Your personal injury attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies to fight for a fair settlement that covers all your losses.
While hit and run accidents can be traumatic and disorienting, there is a clear path to seek rightful compensation and justice. It’s crucial to act swiftly by reporting the incident to law enforcement, identifying the at-fault vehicle, and seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney.
At Mahony Law, we understand the stress and uncertainty that hit and run victims face.
Our compassionate team is here to guide you through the legal process, advocate on your behalf, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this challenging journey alone.
Schedule a meeting with us today, and we’ll help you move forward towards recovery and justice. Your peace of mind is our priority. Call 262-331-3553, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out an online form to get started.
Our Wisconsin personal injury law firm has a true passion for helping people. Allow Mahony Law to pursue justice for you and your family after an injury or accident.
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