Hit and run accidents are frustratingly common. AAA reports that an average of 682,000 hit-and-run collisions happen every year. They also affect pedestrians and cyclists at an alarmingly high rate. Almost 65% of people who were killed in a hit and run accident were a cyclist or a pedestrian.
The key after a hit-and-run accident is to start the investigation and recovery process immediately. Report the accident to the police, seek a full medical evaluation, and talk to an experienced attorney to explore your options. You may be able to locate the driver who hit you, and even if you can’t, you have the ability to claim compensation from your no-fault insurance as well as a number of possible insurance policies.
Start Documenting Your Accident Immediately
When trying to identify a hit-and-run culprit, remember that the more information you have, the better. You are not only trying to identify the specific vehicle that hit you but also the driver at the time of the collision. As such, try to recall everything you can about the vehicle and the driver.
Helpful information includes:
- The license plate number
- The estimated make and model of the vehicle
- The vehicle’s color
- Any defining characteristics, such as a large brush guard, a CB radio antenna, large stickers in the rear windshield, mismatched body panels, etc
- The location of the damage on the vehicle
- A physical description of the driver, or any defining characteristics
Write down or record a video of any information you can possibly recall from the incident. Question any witnesses at the scene, and get their contact information for later. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any debris that could be from the fleeing vehicle.
Once you’ve had a moment to collect your thoughts, put your information into a written statement that is as clear and as detailed as possible.
Always Report the Accident to Police
Call 911 to report that you have been the victim of a hit and run. After taking photos of the wreckage, move your vehicle to a safe place, if possible. Wait for the police to arrive, and assist them by providing all of the information you have while answering their questions.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Do not delay getting a full medical evaluation. If you or your passengers feel hurt, request an ambulance or go to the Emergency Room immediately. Even if you do not feel immediate pain or are unsure about your condition, seek medical attention within the next 24 hours.
You want a complete diagnosis and record of all of your medical conditions. Provide the examiner with statements about your pain and any difficulty moving so that the information is on your documentation.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Getting hurt in a hit and run is a confusing and frustrating experience. It can feel like law enforcement and insurance aren’t doing everything they can to help you.
In these instances, speaking to a personal injury lawyer can provide you with clarity and guidance. They can help you explore all of your options for seeking compensation, and they will help you investigate the accident using their knowledge, experience, and resources.
Your attorney can assist you with requesting video footage from nearby businesses, toll booths, or road infrastructure, for example. They can also hire a private investigator to identify the make, model, and year of the vehicle using road debris, paint chips, and your description.
Working with an attorney allows you to further your investigation into identifying and locating the driver. It also helps you begin to immediately explore your options for recovering your losses. A successful insurance claim allows you to recover from the costs of your medical treatments as well as your lost wages and other damages.
Who Pays After a Hit and Run?
The question of “who can give me compensation when I am hurt in a hit and run?” is difficult, and its answer depends on your situation.
No-Fault Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In every case, you will be able to file for your basic economic losses under your own no-fault insurance policy. This policy provides you up to $50,000 in medical treatment coverage as well as partial reimbursement of your lost wages. Where the driver/vehicle involved in the hit and run cannot be identified, Uninsured motorist policies will, in most instances, cover hit and run accidents and the damages from the same, as well.
The Guilty Party
If you can identify the driver and establish fault, their third-party liability policy is responsible for paying excess costs of your medical treatment, the remainder of your lost wages, any other uncovered damages, including payment for your pain and suffering.
Other Liable Third Parties
In some cases, you may be unable to identify the driver and vehicle that hit you, but you can identify another third party responsible for your crash. It could be another driver, or it could be the manufacturer of your vehicle. It all depends on the circumstances of your accident.
There are many other possibilities, including the possibility of victim’s compensation or a MVAIC claim, where there are no other sources of insurance available. The important thing is to start gathering evidence now and to speak to a knowledgeable attorney experienced in hit-and-run collisions to explore your options.
TonaLaw Is Here for You After Your Hit and Run Crash
Hit and runs can be devastating — not just to your vehicle, your health, and your personal finances, but also to your own mental well-being. It is an extremely traumatic experience, one many victims will blame themselves for or feel guilty about.
Know that you have an advocate in TonaLaw, and you do not have to feel ashamed for the misdeeds that someone else has inflicted upon you. We promise to listen to your story and provide you with your best options based on our decades of injury law experience. If we think you have a case to pursue, we pledge to put the full effort of our firm toward seeking out the compensation you deserve.
Learn more about your options and what you can do to seek proper justice during a free, confidential, no-obligation case review. Call 833-TONALAW (833-866-2529) or contact us online today to schedule your free appointment.