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Hit and Run Car Accident? Here is What To Do After

by | Jan 13, 2022 | Car Accidents

Best Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorneys

When a motorist collides with another car, a pedestrian, or private property and then flees without identifying themselves or aiding the wounded, this is known as a hit and run.

Since 2006, the number of hit-and-run collisions has climbed every year, totaling over 737,000 each year, resulting in approximately 400,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths. The large increase in the number of bikes and pedestrians murdered is particularly concerning. ¹

The nature of a hit-and-run traffic collision is the issue. The majority of drivers avoid being detected by hitting, fleeing, and hiding.

In many situations, the driver flees so swiftly that the wounded victim does not have time to obtain a clear look at the car’s driver before it vanishes. The motorist often gets away without providing any identifying information.

Injured victims are understandably surprised and disturbed in the aftermath of an accident. Medical costs and therapy fees will accumulate while the sufferer is unable to work. They demand restitution for their damages.

Even if the responsible motorist is never located, hit-and-run car accidents do not have to result in financial devastation. Here’s all you need to know about being paid.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A HIT-AND-RUN

What you do immediately after a hit-and-run accident may preserve both your physical health and your future compensation claims. Your actions will leave a permanent record of the collision and serve as proof that a hit-and-run driver caused your injuries and property damage.

REMAIN AT YOUR CURRENT LOCATION AND CALL 911.

Keep going in the same direction. Never attempt to apprehend a hit-and-run motorist. It’s risky for you, and it might jeopardize your claim by casting doubt on what occurred and where it occurred.

To report a hit-and-run, dial 911. Tell the dispatcher if you’ve been injured and if anybody else has been hurt as well. If you’re calling from a mobile phone, provide the dispatcher with your phone number in case you get disconnected.

Give as much information as you can about the car that impacted you.

TAKE NOTES ABOUT THE CAR AND THE DRIVER.

 

Make a list of everything you remember about the car and driver that struck you. If you’re too unsteady to type, dictate everything into your phone. Don’t forget anything. The authorities may utilize every piece of information they have to track down the at-fault motorist. Make a separate list of information from each passenger in your car.

Take note of the car’s previous direction of travel, especially if it had just rounded a curve and the driver’s subsequent direction of travel.

The following is a list of possible car details:

The first or final few digits of the license plate number State, logo, or vanity tag on a license plate

Car types include sedans, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. Color, make, model and year expected

Two-door or four-door

Tow hitches, baggage racks, or bike racks

Parts missing, fractures, dents, and broken lights Decals, bumper stickers, and paint marks Hubcaps that are discolored or missing

Noises: screeching brakes or belts, loud muffler

If you have a license plate number, the department of motor cars may help you identify the owner. You may be able to bring an injury claim against the car owner’s insurance even though the owner was not the driver who struck you.

The following are some details regarding the driver: Gender inferred

Age approximation

Did the driver have a cap or glasses on?

Did they sport a beard or other identifying characteristics? Did the driver have a cigarette in his mouth?

Was anything thrown out of the car as it sped away? Were there any other people in the car? How many are there?

 

SEEK MEDICAL HELP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Never deny medical assistance on the spot. You might be suffering from major traumas such as brain damage or internal bleeding without even realizing it. After a collision, shock and panic may obscure damage signs.

Have a medical assessment later that day if you don’t go to the hospital right away. Consult your primary care physician or visit the local emergency hospital or urgent care facility.

Every symptom, no matter how mild, should be shared with your doctor. Inform them that you were the victim of a hit-and-run.

After an accident, refusing or delaying medical care might jeopardize your injury claim. The insurance adjuster will leap at the chance to dismiss your claim by claiming that your injuries were caused by anything other than the accident.

LOOK FOR WITNESSES OR SECURITY CAMERAS THAT MAY HAVE CAPTURED THE ACCIDENT.

Finding a third-party witness to the accident might be critical to your case. Before paying your claim, many insurance companies demand an “arms-length third-party” verify a hit-and-run car accident. That implies you’ll need someone who isn’t related to you to say they saw the accident. The testimony of a passenger in your car is generally insufficient.

Witnesses may be able to provide information that can aid authorities in locating the hit-and-run motorist. If someone who can assist you saw the accident, ask them to write down what they observed, including any data about the car or driver.

Make some noise by knocking on doors. It’s critical to chat with folks in a business or residential neighborhood to discover whether anybody saw the event. Someone may be acquainted with the car or the driver. In tiny communities, a description of the car may be enough to identify the driver.

Request that company owners examine their security cameras. It’s always conceivable that the film of the car was captured by a camera at a company parking lot, particularly if the driver stopped there around the time of the collision. If the business owner refuses to disclose copies of security camera film willingly, your lawyer may submit a subpoena to get it.

GATHER EVIDENCE AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE

Photographs and video recordings may help you prove your injury claim and even prosecute the hit- and-run offender in the future. Take as many photographs as you can of your damaged car and the area surrounding the crash if you’re able.

Take close-up photographs of road debris and the damaged area on your car. Paint scratches and shattered auto components from the other car may aid the police and insurance companies in their crash investigation.

Photographs of your injuries may be useful in a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent

 

motorist. Photographs showing your ripped and bleeding clothes, twisted bicycle, or you in a hospital bed may all be persuasive proof of your injuries, anguish, and suffering.

Inform the police and your insurance company of your findings. They will conduct their investigation into the collision.

AGAINST THE HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER, CLAIMS AND LAWSUITS

If the driver or owner is identified, the hit-and-run victim may submit an insurance claim with the driver’s or owner’s motor policy. Victims may potentially sue both the driver and the car owner in civil court.

Unless the car was stolen, even if the owner wasn’t driving at the time of the accident, their car ownership renders them liable for a share of the losses. If the at-fault driver was using a corporate car, the owner of the firm is equally accountable.

The extent to which a non-driver owner is liable is determined by whether they: Permitted an unlicensed driver to operate their car

Despite knowing the motorist was drunk, they were permitted to drive. Was aware that the motorist has a track record of fast or dangerous driving

Permitting the driver to operate the car is negligent behavior in certain situations. If the car was stolen or taken without authorization, the owner might not be accountable.

Every motorist owes it to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other cars to drive carefully and keep an eye out for them. When they strike you, the motorist may have already broken traffic regulations.

A breach (violation) of the driver’s duty of care is referred to as negligent driving. When you have sufficient proof that the driver’s carelessness caused the accident and your injuries, the driver and owner must pay you for your losses.

YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WILL PAY YOU

Even if the driver has been arrested, tell your insurance carrier as soon as possible after the collision. Reread your insurance policy to refresh your knowledge of the kinds of coverage, limitations, and deductibles available to you.

Almost every motor insurance policy has a “Notification and Cooperation” provision, which states that you agree to notify the insurance company of any accident and help with the inquiry.

This is what the clause will look like:

“Insured (you) agrees to report any accidents to the insurer (your insurance company) and to provide all information, assistance, and cooperation that the insurer reasonably requests, and agrees that in the event of a claim, the insurer and the insured will do nothing to jeopardize the insurer’s position…”

 

In the event of a motor collision, your liability coverage will not cover your injuries or losses. Liability insurance only covers other people’s losses if you’re at fault in an car accident. You may, however, have additional car insurance coverage for your losses.

INSURANCE COVERAGE TYPES COLLISION

Collision coverage pays for damage to your car regardless of who is at fault. Even if you were not at fault for the accident, you would almost certainly be required to pay a deductible.

PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE (PIP)

After an accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, also known as Medical Payments or Med-Pay, can assist pay your and your passenger’s medical expenditures up to the authorized limitations.

PIP coverage is compulsory in no-fault insurance states, although it may not be available in other states.

BODILY INJURY BY AN UNINSURED DRIVER (UIBI)

If the expenses of your injuries exceed the limitations of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, you may be eligible for Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIBI) coverage.

Only if the at-fault driver is identified and the car’s insurance company pays policy limitations for your injuries will you be entitled to underinsured motorist coverage. UIBI should cover the remainder of your medical bills.

UNINSURED DRIVER (UM)

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is complicated, but it may be your only option if the hit-and-run driver isn’t identified or has insurance.

Every state does not mandate or provide uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage. Some UMPD regulations do not cover hit and run at all. Others need independent verification that a hit-and-run driver caused the damage.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) covers medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering incurred due to an accident caused by a motorist who does not have car insurance. In certain states, UMBI will pay for injuries caused by a hit-and-run, but not in others. You may have to offer independent evidence of the collision.

COMPENSATION IS AVAILABLE VIA THE LEGAL SYSTEM.

It is illegal to flee the scene of a car collision that has resulted in death or injury. In a criminal proceeding, the driver of the car is held accountable. Even though the victim is an individual, the motorist is prosecuted by the state or federal government.

Only the driver is legally accountable if the driver is not the owner unless both the driver and the owner were breaching the law at the time of the accident. Both are criminally culpable in this instance.

COMPENSATION FUNDS FOR VICTIMS

Injured victims may be eligible for financial assistance from the state’s Victim Compensation program in a criminal case if the motorist has no insurance. Victims might access these monies if the hit-and-run motorist did not have insurance or personal means to compensate them.

Each state has its own set of qualifying requirements and benefits for crime victims. The following are examples of victim compensation benefits:

Medical costs, including counselling and rehabilitation Medical providers’ travel expenditures

Wages lost Lawyer’s fees Unforeseen costs

As a condition of probation, compensation is required.

In rare situations, the prosecution may consider giving the driver probation because they pay compensation to the victim. After that, the driver must reimburse the victim in monthly payments.

If the driver fails to make a monthly payment, their probation will be cancelled, and they will be sentenced to spend the remainder of their term in prison.

Contact the district attorney’s office if the hit-and-run motorist who caused your injuries or property damage is apprehended. Make an effort to talk with the prosecutor in charge of the case and inquire about your rights to compensation as a victim.

Tell the prosecutor that you don’t want the driver to be sentenced to probation until you’re compensated for your losses.

WHY DO DRIVERS LEAVE THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT?

Simply put, drivers flee the scene of an accident to avoid being detected. They’re individuals that prioritize their self-interests above the interests of others.

Students, soccer mothers, clerks, business people, bankers, physicians, attorneys, criminals, and more are victims of hit-and-run cars. Their motivations are diverse.

The following are some of the most common reasons why people flee an accident: Driving when inebriated (DUI)

Inadequate insurance

 

The car has been borrowed or stolen. Suspended or revoked driver’s license Arrest warrants pending

The driver is a non-citizen of the United States. Having stolen stuff or narcotics in your possession

The motorist already has several traffic fines and does not want to get any more.

The motorist is driving a working car and does not want his or her boss to know about the accident.

Following the COVID epidemic, there was an increase in the number of accidents caused by illegal street racing. If you stumble across a motorist that is already engaged in illicit activities during a drag race, they are unlikely to remain around.

GET THE LEGAL ASSISTANCE YOU REQUIRE

The victim of a hit-and-run car accident is in a difficult situation. It’s possible that the driver is uninsured and poor or that he’ll never be located. Dealing with your insurance provider is also no easy task. Insurance companies strive to avoid paying huge damage claims in any event, but hit-and-run claims are particularly bad.

You should be able to negotiate your injury and property damage claims without the help of an attorney if you have PIP and Collision coverage. You will not be required to show blame, and your compensation will be equal to the sum of your actual medical expenditures, missed earnings, and car repairs. You will be unable to seek compensation for pain and suffering.

VICTIMS WHO HAVE BEEN SEVERELY HURT NEED THE SERVICES OF AN ATTORNEY.

Insurance adjusters are taught to keep an eye out for bogus claims. They are dubious of allegations that the at-fault motorist cannot be recognized, which they refer to as “phantom drivers.”

Unfortunately for insurance adjusters, hit-and-run cases raise a slew of warning flags. If your only option is uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll struggle no matter how serious your injuries are.

Even if the adjuster says you don’t have coverage, don’t give up. Personal injury lawyers vigorously fight uninsured and underinsured driver cases in several areas, obtaining big payouts for their clients.

Unless the policyholder has signed a particular waiver form, several states require the insurance provider to offer UIM or UM coverage. Your attorney may take the insurance company to court if they refuse to deliver a copy of the document with your signature.

Your first consultation is free and without commitment, and the attorney does not receive payment until you win your case. Contacting a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904

719-300-1100

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