Involved In a Hit And Run Accident? Know Your Legal Rights
A hit and run accident can be a traumatic event, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure about what to do next. However, it’s crucial to understand that you have specific legal rights designed to protect and assist you. Here’s what you need to know:
Your Right to Report
The moments following a hit and run can be chaotic. But no matter how shaken you are, remember you have the right – and it’s highly advisable – to report the accident to the police. Not only does this help establish a formal record, but it can also be instrumental in tracking down the offending driver.
Your Right to Seek Compensation
Even if the driver who hit you fled the scene and remains unidentified, you still have the right to seek compensation for damages or injuries. Your insurance might offer coverage for such incidents, especially if you have uninsured motorist protection.
Your Right to Legal Representation
Whether it’s dealing with insurance claims or pursuing a case in court, you have the right to hire an attorney to represent you. Legal professionals can navigate the complex intricacies of hit and run cases, ensuring you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Your Right to Gather Evidence
From the moment the accident occurs, you have the right to gather as much evidence as possible. This includes taking photos of your damaged vehicle, the accident scene, and any injuries sustained. You can also speak to witnesses and gather their contact information for further validation.
Your Right to Privacy
While it’s essential to cooperate with law enforcement and your insurance company, remember that you have the right to privacy. You aren’t obligated to provide any statements or sign any documents without a legal representative present.
Protection Against Intimidation
In some cases, if the guilty party is identified, they might try to intimidate or persuade you to settle without involving the authorities or insurance companies. Know that you have the right to stand firm against such pressures and that any form of intimidation can be reported and can lead to severe consequences for the offending party.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our network of attorneys includes 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 must 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 time 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).
If 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.
How to Get Compensation if You’re in a Hit and Run with an Uninsured Driver
The Unfortunate Reality of Hit and Runs
Being involved in a hit and run accident is a distressing experience. It becomes even more challenging if the hit and run driver is uninsured. But, don’t lose hope! As accident victims, you have ways to seek the compensation you deserve.
Step 1: Report to the Police
Always report the incident to the police, especially if it’s a felony hit and run. This can be vital for your insurance claim and if you decide to pursue a legal case later.
Step 2: Seek a Personal Injury Attorney
Getting a personal injury attorney is crucial. They are experts in guiding accident victims like you through the legal maze. Look for a lawyer who specializes in hit and run cases. They can offer you the best advice tailored to your situation.
Step 3: Use Your Insurance
Many drivers have uninsured motorist coverage as a part of their car insurance policy. This can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages when the faulty driver is uninsured.
Step 4: Gather All Evidence
Every detail helps. Photos, witness testimonies, and any other evidence can support your case. This becomes even more critical if you’re seeking compensation without the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Step 5: Consider Legal Action
If all else fails and you can identify the hit and run driver, consider taking legal action. Lawyers for hit and run accidents are experienced in these cases. They can help guide you on the best course of action against the guilty party.
While the situation is challenging, you are not powerless. Seek help, understand your rights, and always consider having a lawyer for hit and run accidents by your side to guide you through the process.
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 car accident lawyers 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.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer
When a hit and run accident occurs, you should consult a qualified hit and run accident attorney as soon as possible. Hit and run accidents require skilled legal representation, as there are a number of unique procedural and investigation-related issues that can pose a challenge.
We can connect you to an experienced attorney who has the skillset and experience necessary to handle your case. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Facing the aftermath of hit and run crashes? Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, 1-800-THE-LAW2 is here to help!
Why You Need an Expert on Your Side
After such a crash, it’s crucial to have an expert who knows the ins and outs of these cases. A hit and run attorney can handle cases in which incidents where drivers involved flee the scene without providing their information or helping the injured.
Quick and Local Assistance
Wondering, “Where can I find a hit and run lawyer near me?” Look no further! 1-800-THE-LAW2 has a network of attorneys ready to help. We ensure you get connected to a lawyer who is also conveniently located near you.
Let 1-800-THE-LAW2 connect you with the right attorney today!