Your insurance company can only do so much to help you recover from a hit-and-run accident, which is why hiring a lawyer can be beneficial.
If you’re in an accident where the other driver flees, it’s not just traumatic—the situation can also leave behind more questions than answers. It’s hard to get all the information you need to file a substantial insurance claim, making it difficult to financially recover the costs of any medical bills or property damage.
On the other hand, if you’re at fault in an accident, you might find yourself at the opposite end of the spectrum—panicked and maybe even feeling like you have a valid reason to flee. Without a lawyer, it will be nearly impossible to plea your case in the hopes of getting your charges reduced or dropped.
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What is a hit-and-run?
When a driver intentionally leaves the scene of a collision involving another vehicle, person, or personal property, it’s considered a hit-and-run. Every state requires drivers to remain at the site of an accident and provide their information, regardless of who was at fault. It’s also necessary to render aid to any injured parties in the accident.
Failure to exchange contact information and alert emergency personnel of a collision will earn the driver severe financial and legal penalties.
What should I do after a hit-and-run accident?
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, the best thing you can do is to stay calm and remain where you are. Accidents are complicated enough, and drivers who leave the accident site are typically trying to avoid repercussions.
Your initial reaction may be to track them down yourself, but that could be dangerous if the driver is aggressive. Instead, this is the best course of action:
- Get the police involved right away and report the accident in detail
- Assess yourself (and any passengers) for injuries and seek medical attention
- Take notes capturing information on the driver’s car, the collision, and damages caused
- Take pictures of the scene to supplement your case
- Seek out witnesses and get as much of their input as they’ll provide
- Contact your insurance company no more than 24 hours after the accident
The most challenging aspect of a hit-and-run accident is the possibility of not identifying the driver. While getting information to the police and your insurance company will set the stage for a more efficient, effective resolution—they may not be enough to fully reimburse you for the damages.
That’s where hiring a lawyer can position you to get the compensation you deserve, whether the driver is identified or not.
How can a lawyer help me after a hit-and-run accident?
Getting an experienced lawyer in your corner can help you advocate for the full scope of financial losses you incurred from the hit-and-run accident.
The less information you have after a hit-and-run accident, the harder it is for your insurance company to pay out the total amount you deserve as a victim. Primarily, a lawyer can help you recover the following:
- Reimbursement for medical bills
- Compensation for property damage
- Lost wages
- Additional payment for pain and suffering
The case will be considered a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the driver isn’t found, a lawyer can explore avenues for compensation that you wouldn’t find on your own.
Keep in mind that there are time constrictions on the pursuit of your hit-and-run case in court depending on the laws in each state, so it’s a good idea to reach out to a lawyer soon after the incident.
Can a lawyer help me if I was at fault?
People make mistakes, and there are rare cases in which a driver had a valid reason to flee the scene. If you were the at-fault driver in a hit-and-run accident, it’s going to be helpful to hire a lawyer.
Each state doles out severe penalties for hit-and-run violations that include, but aren’t limited to:
- Jail time
- Motor vehicle points
- License suspension
If you want to have any chance at reducing or dropping your charges, you’ll need a lawyer’s input to make it happen.
What type of insurance covers a hit-and-run accident?
Most states require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of
liability insurance, but that only offers a limited amount of protection in a hit-and-run accident.
These are some additional coverages that could benefit you in a hit-and-run:
Uninsured motorist coverage
Whether you’re a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, this can cover bodily injury damages even when the driver isn’t found or is uninsured.
MedPay offers reimbursement for medical costs related to injuries resulting from the hit-and-run accident up to your policy limits.
Although a deductible may be required, this coverage will pay for repairs or an actual cash value (ACV) replacement vehicle if your car is totaled.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
Beyond medical bills, PIP can help you recover from wages lost after the accident.
Since each state and insurance company has its variation of these offerings, it’s essential to check your policy details to see what type of additional coverages you qualify for.
How to find insurance for your vehicle after collisions and more
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Is it worth getting a personal injury lawyer?
Yes. Personal injury cases like a hit-and-run accident are complex. Having a lawyer who’s experienced in that area can drastically increase your odds of recovering from damages.
When should I hire a lawyer after a car accident?
It’s best to contact a lawyer as close to the time of the collision as possible. The more fresh, vivid details you can provide, the stronger your case will be.