The most recent report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that hit-and-run accidents happen somewhere in the United States every 43 seconds. Since 2006, these types of crashes causing both injuries and fatalities have moved in an upward trend.
What are hit-and-run accidents?
A hit-and-run auto accident is when one of the responsible drivers in the accident leaves the scene before authorities arrived. Hit-and-run accidents leave the victim in a tricky spot. Injuries can range from minor to severe, not to mention damage to their vehicle. Getting compensation for these kinds of accidents will depend on key factors of the accident, your insurance, and if the guilty party can be found. This article will help you understand what to do if you’re in a hit and run accident and the basics of receiving compensation. Seeking legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer experienced in hit and run cases can greatly increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your losses.
What should I know if I’m in a hit-and-run accident?
If you’re ever in an auto accident, be prepared to write down as much information as possible. Usually, drivers would exchange insurance information and document any damages at the site of the accident. However, in a hit-and-run, this is not possible. Therefore, it’s even more important to write down what you do know. Make a note on your phone or take a picture of it, if possible. Note the color, year, make, and model of the car. Getting the driver’s license plate number is ideal, but often these accidents happen quickly and the driver drives off before one is able to write it down. Even partial plate numbers can be helpful. Try to get a physical description of the driver, even if it’s just a little information. Record even the little details like if the car has a scratch on its side, or peeling paint. Any information that you can give the police will help them locate the driver and bring them in.
Get medical care
Your health is and should always be your top priority. Don’t hesitate to get medical attention after a hit-and-run accident. If a doctor or nurse has been brought to identify your symptoms, allow them to do their job. They will know the signs of injury that might be masked by adrenaline. Whiplash especially might not be noticeable at first, but within a few days it will most likely act up. Other serious injuries include bone fractures and internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can be very dangerous to your health, and may even be life-threatening.
What to expect when filing with insurance
With most auto accidents, the victim can usually find coverage with the offending driver’s insurance. In hit-and-run scenarios, the accident victim is left on their own. But, does that mean the victim’s insurance won’t pay up? Fortunately, most insurance plans offer coverage that applies to
Typically, the coverage options that cover hit and runs are collision coverage, uninsured bodily or property damage, personal injury protection, and medical payment coverage. If you have any questions about what options your plan offers or need advice following a hit and run incident, talk with your insurance agent or consult with a hit and run lawyer. Collision coverage and uninsured property damage apply the most, as most hit and run drivers are uninsured.
Be sure you talk to any witnesses and collect their contact information. Insurance companies will often require verification of a hit and run accident from a bystander witness. The legal term for this is “third-party arms-length witnesses.” These are people with whom you have had no previous connections. So, a passenger in your vehicle would not count. Insurance companies require testimonies from these witnesses to defend themselves against false claims.
Remember, when you’re preparing your insurance claim, insurance companies tend to look for loopholes in order to avoid higher coverage payouts. Being detail-oriented and organized will strengthen your claim and make it easier to get the coverage you deserve.
What about liability insurance coverage?
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, liability insurance would not apply. This coverage option covers the costs that could result from an accident you cause.
Is it possible to catch the at-fault driver?
The short answer is yes. It is possible to catch the at-fault driver, but most hit-and-run cases don’t end with the culprit being caught. The success of the police case depends on your ability to give them helpful information. That is why, if you are ever in a hit-and-run accident, that you record any and all evidence possible.
Because accidents are scary, you may not be able to catch the other car’s license plate number. If there were witnesses to the accident, gather testimonies and see if they have information that can help the police with their search. If the accident happened in a public area, it might have been caught on a security camera. Talk with the business owners or security to see if you can obtain copies of this evidence. Also, make sure you document any damages to your vehicle with pictures, as there may be clues that will aid the police investigation.
Getting the compensation you deserve
If you or a loved one has been in a hit-and-run accident, it will hold the insurance companies accountable for the damages you are seeking. The fact is that these accidents happen often, and people can lose money, time, and peace of mind if the claim falls through. Our award-winning auto accident attorneys at The Cochran Firm Philadelphia are here to get you the compensation you deserve. Set up a free case consultation with us today. Call 1-800-THE-FIRM or chat with one of our representatives right here on our website.