What To Do After A Hit And Run Accident
Written By: Attorney Colin McIver
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A hit-and-run typically occurs when a driver causes a crash with another vehicle, motorcycle, or pedestrian and flees the scene without providing any identifying information. All states have laws making it illegal to flee the scene of a crash. Despite this, hit-and-runs are a regular occurrence. At-fault drivers may flee the scene of a crash for any number of reasons, including intoxication, lack of insurance coverage, to avoid responsibility, and, sometimes, they simply panic.
Even if an at-fault driver flees the scene of a crash, it may be possible to recover for the bodily injuries you sustained in the crash. To learn more about your options after an accident, schedule a free consultation with the experienced car accident lawyers of Zinda Law Group today by calling (800) 863 5312. You will never owe us anything unless we win your case.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM INVOLVED IN A HIT-AND-RUN?
Steps you should take if you are the victim of a hit-and-run include:
Stay safe and seek medical attention if injured.
The most important consideration after a crash is your own health and safety. All other recommendations on this list are secondary to your health and safety.
Call the police or 911.
One of the first steps in any car crash is to inform the authorities of the crash. This ensures that officers and first responders will respond to the crash and that you receive treatment for any injuries. You should provide as much detail to the police as possible about the driver that fled, the vehicle they were driving, and any witnesses to the crash. The investigating officer(s) may be able to locate the at-fault driver using this information.
Take photos of the driver and his or her vehicle if you can do so safely. Take photos of the scene of the crash, any damage to your vehicle, and any visible injuries you have. You should also get the contact information of any witnesses. Write down anything you can remember about the at-fault driver and their vehicle, especially the license plate number. You will be surprised at how much you forget about the crash as time goes by!
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Most experienced personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and may help you seek compensation for the harms and losses you suffer in a hit-and-run.
Despite being against the law, hit-and-runs are a regular occurrence. One of the greatest challenges in hit-and-run cases is finding insurance coverage for the victim. For this reason, it is important to obtain a copy of the victim’s insurance policy and take all reasonable steps to identify the at-fault driver and any insurance policy covering them at the time of the crash. A claim may be brought directly against the at-fault driver, but a claim against his or her insurance is more likely to be successful.
How Zinda Law Group May Help Your Case After a Hit and Run
We regularly represent clients involved in crashes where the at-fault driver fled the scene. One of the challenges in hit-and-run cases is finding insurance coverage for the harms and losses caused by the at-fault driver. This is because it may be impossible to identify the at-fault driver or their insurance policy, if they have one. The following are important steps we take in hit-and-run cases and common questions that our clients have.
Determining if the victim has insurance that applies.
You may have insurance coverage for bodily injuries caused by a hit-and-run through your own auto insurance policy. Underinsured/uninsured bodily injury coverage is a type of auto insurance on your own policy that applies if the at-fault driver is not identified. Many states require insurance providers to offer this coverage to policyholders. Many states also require that a rejection of underinsured/uninsured coverage be signed by the policyholder. Because of this, many people have underinsured/uninsured coverage on their auto policy without even knowing it.
Medpay and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) are also types of insurance that the victim of a hit-and-run may have available to them. MedPay and PIP generally apply to the medical costs the victim incurs because of the crash. In almost every case, we get a copy of our client’s auto insurance policy to confirm whether underinsured/uninsured coverage, MedPay, or PIP are available.
Identifying the driver that fled.
We attempt to identify the at-fault driver and any auto insurance that covered them at the time of the crash. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy is generally the primary insurance in any car wreck. Finding insurance coverage through the at-fault driver is especially important if you do not have coverage through your own policy. Methods we use to identify the at-fault driver include:
- Collecting any information from our client that can be used to identify the at-fault driver or their vehicle;
- Speaking with the officers investigating the crash;
- Investigating any nearby business with cameras covering the scene of the crash;
- Speaking with witnesses that have information about the driver that fled;
- Speaking with the owners of any homes or businesses near the scene of the crash; and
- Reviewing any dash camera or body camera footage from the crash.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE AT-FAULT DRIVER IS IDENTIFIED?
If the at-fault driver is identified and he or she had a valid insurance policy at the time of the crash, we may bring a claim against his or her insurance policy for personal injuries you sustained in the crash. Some states also allow claims for punitive damages when the at-fault driver fled the scene. Punitive damages are generally separate from the personal injury damages and allow the recovery of additional damages due to the misconduct of the at-fault driver. Even in states that do not allow punitive damages, juries are often more willing to find in favor of the victim in hit-and-run cases.
Learn more about how we negotiate with insurance companies.
WHAT IF NO INSURANCE COVERAGE EXISTS?
The victim of a hit-and-run can bring a claim directly against the at-fault driver if he or she is identified. However, bringing a claim directly against the at-fault driver can often be costly, time consuming, and ineffective. For this reason, we spend great time and effort locating insurance policies that cover our client’s personal injuries.
WHAT IF THE AT-FAULT DRIVER IS NOT IDENTIFIED AND NO INSURANCE COVERAGE EXISTS?
This is the worst-case scenario. If there is no insurance coverage and the at-fault driver is not identified, it is likely the victim will have to pay medical costs out of their own pocket. There are ways to mitigate the costs of medical treatment in this situation, including applying for emergency Medicaid, setting up payment plans with medical providers, and getting reductions from treatment providers.
TRUST THE HIT AND RUN CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents occur every day. But Zinda Law Group is here to help. Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys may help you pursue the proper steps to get the best possible outcome for your case.
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a hit-and-run attorney. You will pay nothing unless we can win your case. That’s our No Win No Fee Guarantee.
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