What Should I Do If I’m the Victim of a Hit and Run?
Seek Legal Advice From a Car Accident Lawyer
Getting into a car accident is frightening. It is not something you are expecting to happen, and it can completely change your life in an instant. Your vehicle could be totaled, or you could total someone else’s vehicle. You, a loved one, or someone in another vehicle involved in the incident could suffer a catastrophic injury or lose his or her life. As is the case with an increasing number of accidents, the driver who caused the accident might flee the scene.
A report from AAA suggests that hit-and-run accidents are on the rise. Deaths in hit-and-runs have risen by 62% between 2009 and 2016, and they continue to climb.
If you are the victim of a hit and run crash, you could be left at an accident scene hurt and unable to call for help, or if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you could be on the hook for the damage to your car or truck.
What to Do Following a Hit and Run
As with any type of car accident, the first thing you should do following a hit and run is to make sure everyone involved in the incident that has remained at the accident scene is okay. Once you have determined whether anyone is injured or not, call 911. Stay on the phone with the 911 operator until the police arrive. If possible, do the following:
- Move any vehicles off the road if they are obstructing traffic
- Try to write down any information you can recall regarding the vehicle and driver who fled the accident scene, including physical description, license plate number, and direction the vehicle was last headed
- Do not pursue the hit-and-run driver
- Get the contact information of any witnesses as well as other drivers and passengers involved in the crash
Do I Need to Sue If the Hit-and-Run Driver Is Arrested?
If the hit-and-run driver who drove the vehicle that crashed into yours is tracked down, caught, charged, and arrested, it is far from a done deal. While he or she can and should face criminal punishment, whether the hit-and-run driver is convicted or not will not help you from a financial standpoint. To secure the help you need for vehicle damage, hospital bills, physical therapy costs, and rehabilitation expenses, you will need to file a civil lawsuit against the driver who hit you.
How Do Hit-and-Run Lawsuits Work?
Once you have chosen to pursue a civil lawsuit against the hit-and-run driver who caused your car wreck, you will not have to wait until the criminal case against a hit-and-run driver has concluded to file your case. In addition to being able to file your civil lawsuit at the same time the criminal case is ongoing, you will find that the burden of proof for civil cases are less than that of criminal lawsuits, which means it will be less difficult to prove that the hit-and-run driver was at fault. In criminal lawsuits, plaintiffs must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the plaintiff need only prove that there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the defendant is at fault.
Personal Injury Lawyers for Hit-and-Run Victims
If you or someone you love was the victim of a hit and run, you should discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident. In many cases, a personal injury lawyer will discuss your case with you for free. In addition, during your initial conversation, an experienced injury lawyer can analyze your situation, tell you whether you have a valid case, answer your questions, and explain the best options available to you moving forward.