Involved In A Hit And Run Accident? Know Your Legal Rights
Hit and runs accidents occur when a driver hits you and fails to stop — all this despite being fully aware that they’ve hit you. As the injured plaintiff, this can put you in a challenging and vulnerable legal position.
Reminder: a hit and run accident is when the driver responsible for the accident flees the scene of the accident.
If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, you may be wondering how to proceed with a lawsuit. After all, you might not even know the identity of the driver responsible for causing your injuries.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our network of attorneys include lawyers who can provide legal representation in hit and run lawsuits. Call us today to get connected to an experienced hit and run accident lawyer.
Identifying And Tracking Down The Driver
Hit and run accidents can be extremely frustrating — after all, you may have to sit idly by and watch the defendant flee the scene. Though it may be enticing to chase the defendant, it’s important to focus on what you need to do to be safe and preserve your legal rights.
Instead of chasing the defendant (which may not even be possible, and would undermine your injury claims), try to remember and jot down identifying information that can support your claim.
This may include the defendant’s…
- License plate state and number
- Car information (color, model, modifications, overall description, etc.)
- Other identifying information (such as the defendant’s name if you heard someone say it at the scene of the accident before they fled)
- And more
Tracking down the defendant isn’t always straightforward. Though eyewitness assistance, your own memory, and nearby photo/video footage can help you identify the defendant’s license plate number (and therefore determine their identity), in some cases, you may not have the information you need to track down the defendant.
All is not lost.
Even if you cannot sue the unidentified defendant, you have two main options for recovery:
- Submitting a claim with your own insurance provider, and
- Suing other defendants who may be responsible for your injuries.
Suppose that you are injured in a hit and run accident, where the defendant-driver flees the scene and successfully gets away. You have no identifying information available to you, so a lawsuit against the defendant is not possible.
Under these circumstances, you may still have a lawsuit against other defendants. Imagine that your airbag was faulty and didn’t release at the tie of the accident. This led to more serious injuries. You could ostensibly sue the car and/or airbag manufacturer for at least some portion of the total damages, even if they are only partially at-fault.
What To Do After A Hit And Run Accident
After a hit and run accident, you may still be eligible for compensation even if the driver has fled the scene of the accident.
You may increase the likelihood of success in a lawsuit by gathering supportive evidence. This may include:
- Taking note of the color and model of the car
- Collecting information from witnesses
- Jotting down any part of the license plate number
- Noting any identifying characteristics of the driver
- Taking notice of the direction that the fleeing car is headed in
- Gathering evidence from nearby businesses (i.e., speaking to managers of a nearby store that might have video footage of the accident on their security cameras)
- And more
It’s important to understand your legal rights.
After an accident, drivers are required to stop and provide information including their name and license number. Even if the accident occurred with an unattended vehicle (i.e., while you were shopping and not inside the car), the individual responsible for the collision is required to make an attempt to contact the owner, identify themselves, and inform them of what occurred.
If the incident occurred with a company vehicle, then you may be entitled to hold the employer liable, so long as the employee was acting within the scope of their employment (i.e., transporting goods while working as a delivery driver).
In the event that the driver is different from the vehicle owner, then you may also have a legal right of action against the vehicle owner. That is, if the owner gave the driver permission to borrow their car.
As you can see, litigation in the wake of an accident can be complicated. It’s therefore critical that you consult with a qualified attorney for guidance. We encourage injured plaintiffs to seek counsel at an early stage so that their case can be fully evaluated, and a comprehensive investigation can be launched.
Our Hit And Run Lawyers Can Help You Fight To Secure Compensation
We have more than 35 years of experience connecting callers to our experienced personal injury attorneys. Let our attorneys make the litigation process easier for you. This includes identifying evidence that will strengthen your claim and advising you on how to speak with your insurance company.
Our lawyers can help you obtain compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property loss
- And more
To recover in the wake of an accident, you’ll want to file a claim against the defendant-driver responsible for your injuries. In a hit and run accident, however, you may not know the identity of the defendant at first.
In some cases, you may be able to simply recover by filing a claim against your own insurance provider (on the basis of uninsured driver coverage). Even in this scenario, you’ll want to consult with an attorney who can serve as your negotiating advocate — they will ensure that the provider pays out the maximum possible amount.
In other cases, you will be able to sue the defendant directly and their insurer will step in on their behalf to defend them. It’s worth noting that most cases end in settlement, so even if you begin a lawsuit, it’s more likely to resolve through a negotiated settlement than through courtroom litigation.