If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, it can be a scary and frustrating experience. It may feel like a hopeless situation to be in but there are still steps you need to take to protect yourself.
What is a hit-and-run?
A hit-and-run occurs when someone hits another person or vehicle without stopping to see if anyone is injured or killed. This type of crime is called “hit-and-run” because the suspect leaves the scene before being caught by law enforcement. In most cases, the suspect does not stop to check on the victims or even their own injuries.
Hit-and-runs happen all over the country every day. They usually occur during daylight hours and often involve people who know each other. Many times, the suspect is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The suspect might flee from the scene because he knows he has done something wrong. He might think that no one saw him commit the crime, so he doesn’t want to get caught. Or maybe he just wants to avoid getting arrested. Whatever his reason, the suspect is trying to escape justice.
The suspect might try to hide evidence such as blood or fingerprints. He might destroy evidence such as the car he used to run down the victim. He might even change clothes after committing the crime.
Because hit-and-runs are crimes, the suspect must face consequences. But these consequences aren’t always severe. Sometimes, the suspect gets away with only minor fines or community service. Other times, the suspect goes to jail for a few days or weeks.
But even though the suspect might go unpunished, he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with hurting innocent people. That’s why we recommend that everyone who is involved in a hit-and- run contact a personal injury attorney right away.
What could be done after being involved in a hit-and-run?
If you find yourself in this situation the first thing you should do is call the police. The police may be able to find the driver. At the very least they will be able to provide you with an accident report showing the crash was the result of a hit-and-run—you will need this official documentation for your insurance claim. After you call the police, you will also need to:
- Get medical attention. You are going to have to prove that you got injured in the crash. Simply saying you were hurt will not be good enough for the insurance company.
- Call your insurance company. You need to tell them you got into an accident, the accident was a hit-and-run, and that you intend to make a claim on your policy.
- Review your insurance policy. Find out what the claims process is and find out what the maximum policy coverage is for uninsured motorist claims because they will not pay more than the maximum limit.
- Proceed with an uninsured motorist claim. Your insurance company takes the place of the other driver whose insurance should actually be paying.
As terrible as a hit-and-run crash can be, there are steps you can and should take that could possibly lead to the arrest of the driver, or at the very least help you have a better outcome.
Should you speak with a lawyer after a hit-and-run?
You should definitely consider talking to a lawyer if you are involved in a hit-or-run crash.
There are many reasons why you should consider hiring a lawyer. First, it is important to remember that you don’t have to hire a lawyer immediately after the crash. It is perfectly acceptable to wait until you have spoken with the police about the incident. However, once you have talked to the police, it is time to start thinking about how you can best protect yourself and your rights.
It is possible that the person responsible for the crash will deny responsibility. If that happens, then you will need to file a lawsuit against the driver. This means that you will have to hire a lawyer to represent you in court.
A lawyer can also help you recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and any other losses you suffered as a result of the crash.
A lawyer can also help you determine whether the other driver had adequate liability insurance. If the other driver did not have sufficient coverage, you could potentially sue him or her for negligence.
A lawyer can help you decide whether you want to pursue criminal charges against the driver. In some cases, filing a criminal complaint might be beneficial. For example, if the driver fled the scene of the crash, he or she could face additional penalties under state law.