Hit and run accidents can leave you with many uncertainties, especially if you are the victim and cannot identify the person that hit you. When these accidents result in injuries, the bills may start to compound while you are unable to go back to work. You should not have to plead with an insurance company while healing from physical trauma. If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a hit-and-run accident, you have options to help you get the compensation you need.
What Are the Consequences of a Hit and Run?
At-fault drivers in a hit-and-run case often face significant consequences. At the very least, they will face a misdemeanor charge, but the possibilities vary depending on the specific details of the case. For example, if you suffered injuries or lost someone in a hit-and-run collision and either you or the police can identify the driver that hit you, they will almost certainly face felony charges.
Some other potential consequences of a hit-and-run accident include:
- The driver’s insurance premiums will increase drastically.
- If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, they face additional penalties for driving without insurance.
- If the police discover the driver committed any other crimes, such as driving under the influence, at the time of the hit-and-run accident, they can also face charges for those crimes.
- The driver could face a civil lawsuit.
- The department of motor vehicles will likely implement even more penalties.
Every accident carries unique circumstances, and each state has its own laws governing hit-and-run accidents. These cases can quickly become very complex and challenging. You may find it necessary to seek legal counsel, and a personal injury lawyer can provide an expert opinion on this type of case.
What Are the Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Hit and run accidents can happen almost anywhere, and more often than not, the driver who hit you panicked and ran without considering the consequences. Some other reasons a driver may run include:
- They failed to purchase the proper car insurance and do not want to face the financial repercussions. The primary reason that people drive without insurance is that they cannot afford it, so it is safe to assume that they would struggle to pay out-of-pocket for damages.
- They were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even a first-offense DUI can come with hefty legal consequences, and the drunk driver faces significant consequences if their actions result in injuries.
- They have outstanding warrants or other legal issues. Most states require you to contact the police for any accident resulting in injuries or significant property damage. Someone wanted by the police may run to avoid getting caught.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run collision, there are still a few essential things you can do to protect your rights immediately after. First, commit the license plate number to memory or take a photo if you can get to your phone in time. Then contact the police regardless. Next, take photographs of the damages and the surrounding scene before seeking medical attention. Even if you feel fine, you should see a doctor right away in case you have internal or latent injuries. Finally, consider speaking with an attorney about what you can do next to receive compensation for your losses.
How Can You Cover the Damages From a Hit and Run?
As with any car accident, you typically turn to insurance for compensation. Without information about the other driver, your only option is to file a claim with your insurer. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you should at least have a way to repair or replace your damaged vehicle. If you live in one of the 12 no-fault states, you will turn to your personal injury protection insurance to cover medical bills and lost wages associated with your injuries. You may also check with your health insurance provider to see if any necessary treatments for your injuries are covered under your policy.
When the At-Fault Driver Is Known
If you can identify the driver that hit you, you handle this case much like any other car accident case. You can file a claim with the driver’s insurance company if they have coverage or file a lawsuit against the driver. Unfortunately, getting a fair settlement is difficult if the responsible party does not have insurance. Additionally, any settlement or award you receive may not come in one sum as it would from an insurer.
When Should You Contact a Hit and Run Lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers handle various car accident cases, including hit and run. Without extensive knowledge about the ins and outs of the legal process, you may not fully understand your rights in a hit-and-run case. If you suffered any sort of damage, whether it is bodily injury or property damages, you can contact a personal injury lawyer with questions about the details of your case.
If you file a claim with your insurance provider or the at-fault driver’s insurance, and you receive pushback from the insurer, you should contact an attorney right away. Insurers commonly use sneaky tactics to get out of paying a claim. For example, they may:
- Deny your valid claim without providing an excuse
- Intentionally undervalue your claim
- Refuse to answer your questions or return your calls
- Delay the investigation or stall payment to try and run out the clock on the statute of limitations, rendering you unable to file a lawsuit
- Change the policy to invalidate your claim
- Intentionally misrepresent the legal language of the policy to benefit the company
If you experience any unsavory actions from the insurer, you should consider speaking with an attorney. More often than not, adjusters refrain from bad faith behavior when dealing with someone’s legal representation. As a result, they are more likely to negotiate reasonably, especially if you have a strong claim with supporting evidence.
How Can a Hit and Run Lawyer Help You?
Before you decide not to contact a personal injury attorney specializing in hit-and-run car accidents, you should know the benefits of having legal expertise on your side. Some ways in which an attorney can help with your case include:
- Offering you educated advice on your case and guiding you to the best avenue for compensation
- Proving liability if you can identify the driver that hit you
- Protecting you from unfair tactics commonly used by insurance companies to avoid paying out on a valid claim
- Ensuring that you meet all the required deadlines and file all the appropriate documents
- Adequately calculating the damages from your accident to ensure that you ask for the right amount of compensation
- Assembling admissible and valuable evidence to support your claim
- Helping you prepare for trial when your case does not settle
Hit-and-run car accidents are stressful for everyone involved. The consequences can be harsh for the at-fault party, and the victim may face severe financial and physical troubles. Whatever the circumstances of your accident, the car accident lawyers at Cellino Law can help you reach a resolution and get life back to normal more quickly. We are available at all hours to answer your questions. If you need help taking the next step after a hit-and-run accident, contact an attorney at Cellino Law today for a free consultation.
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