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Handling Hit and Run Accidents

Handling Hit and Run Accidents

Provided by HG.org

H it and run accidents occur when two or more vehicles collide and one party flees the scene with the vehicle or on foot. When an accident is impacted by one of the parties fleeing, the case can often become more complicated.

Reasons for Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents may be caused by a number of reasons. Some accidents occur after a person has been drinking or doing drugs before or while driving. Such individuals who cause accidents may be afraid of being charged for their illegal consumption. The driver may not have insurance and does not want to be held financially liable for the accident. An outstanding warrant may influence a person not to want to stop where police or other emergency responders may arrive. Other accidents occur when a person is trying to flee from police or escape the area after a crime. Again, such individuals may not stop after an accident because they are afraid of being implicated for other crimes.

In some cases, a person may get nervous after being involved in an accident and escape from the scene of the accident instead of waiting as required. Regardless of the reason for the accident occurring, the victim still suffers as a result of the actions of the hit and run driver.

Criminal Aspect of the Case

Most states require individuals to make a report after an accident occurs and to remain at the scene of the accident until police arrive. They often criminalize leaving the scene of an accident without sharing contact and insurance information. This may be a misdemeanor offense. However, if the accident resulted in property damage over a specified amount or bodily injury, it may be considered a felony. Law enforcement may initiate a criminal investigation to determine the identity of the driver who fled the scene of the accident. Area businesses, banks or traffic cameras may have surveillance footage that can help them identify the license plate, vehicle description or identity of the culprit.

Steps to Protect Your Claim

There are several ways that you can protect your claim. Some ways may include:

Watch What Happens after the Accident

It may be extremely difficult to gather your senses immediately after the accident, but if possible try to notice where the driver goes. Do not follow the other driver but do take note of which direction he or she was heading and which roads he or she turned down. If possible, write down the license plate number if it is observed and a description of the vehicle.

Stay at the Scene of the Accident

You will likely not be in any condition to drive after an accident. Hit and run accidents may involve impacts at greater speeds or head-on collisions due to the other driver’s inattention, speed, delayed response, impairment or lack of braking. Your vehicle has likely suffered as well and may not be safe to drive. Chasing the other vehicle can also be dangerous and put you and others at risk as well as potentially subjecting you to criminal sanctions if you also leave the scene of the accident.

Call the Police

Make sure that you contact the police immediately. Even if you think damage is minimal, you may have unnoticed injuries and a police report can help document the incident. Give as much information to the police as possible and explain how the accident happened. This information may help police locate the party responsible for the accident. Take note of the damage on your vehicle as the other driver may have damage to the corresponding part of his or her vehicle.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you do not immediately notice any injuries, medical assistance may still be necessary. A healthcare provider can assess if you have any injuries.

Contact Your Insurance Company

If the other party is not apprehended or if he or she does not have insurance, you may need to contact your own insurance company to file an uninsured motorist claim. This can help you recover for the medical expenses you suffer, lost wages and pain and suffering. It can also help you get your repairs completed.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

When dealing with cases involving hit and run accidents, it is often wise to hire a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies may not offer a fair settlement, and having a personal injury lawyer on your side can mean that you have an effective advocate on which to rely.


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