After a hit-and-run car accident, you might feel hurt, frightened, and confused. Car accidents can already be difficult to deal with, much less one in which you aren’t even sure who caused it. Maybe you were in the vehicle when the hit-and-run happened, or maybe you weren’t. The most important thing that you can do regardless of how the hit-and-run occurred is to document the scene of the accident to the best of your ability, call the police and file a police report and look into your insurance coverage. Depending on your state’s traffic laws, your insurance rate might raise after a hit-and-run accident By doing a little research and contacting a car accident lawyer to learn more about your rights as a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be eligible for compensation and avoid a rise in your insurance rate.
Filing a Hit-and-Run Insurance Claim
- $5,000-$20,000 in fines and fees
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Revocation or suspension of your driver’s license
If you cannot identify who caused the hit-and-run, you’ll have to take out an insurance claim with your own insurance company. Filing a claim against your own insurance company can cause a rise in your insurance rate. If you can identify who caused the accident and they’re found at-fault, you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company which won’t result in a rise in your insurance rate. This is where knowing your insurance policy and coverage details come in handy. Speak with a local lawyer about your case, and with their help, talk to your insurance agent about your claim. Do not file an insurance policy claim, either with your insurance company or the other driver’s, without the help of a car accident lawyer. Filing a claim without a lawyer can result in accepting a lower settlement or even having your insurance rate raise when it doesn’t have to.
Act Quickly Immediately After the Accident Happens
Though it might be hard, you need to stay calm after being involved in a hit-and-run accident. Acting quickly in the moments after a hit-and-run can help you when filing a claim against the driver who caused the accident. If you can, get a picture of:
- The vehicle that hit you
- The license plate on the vehicle that caused the hit-and-run
- Any debris or wreckage that came from the accident
The more evidence that you can collect from the scene, the more supported your claim will be. If you are able to collect evidence from the hit-and-run and identify who caused it, you may be eligible to press criminal charges and collect damages. Damages that can be recovered from a hit-and-run include:
- Medical expenses such as hospital bills, ambulance fees, cost of medicine, therapy fees, medical accessories, and more
- Lost wages from not being able to work due to any injuries from the hit-and-run
- Rental car fees
- Pain and suffering, which covers any mental or physical distress from the accident or trauma
- Loss of consortium, also known as loss of affection. This cannot be claimed by the person injured in a hit-and-run but can be claimed by their spouse. If there has been a lack of affection or intimacy since the accident from the injured spouse, damages can be recovered for this loss
- Punitive damages can be awarded to punish the person who caused the hit-and-run. Depending on your state’s laws, punitive damages are based on the context and severity of the hit-and-run driver’s conduct, how much they have in assets, and the likelihood that the person will do it again and cause others to harm if not punished.
Speak with a Lawyer About Your Hit-and-Run Case
If you’re unsure of where to begin after collecting evidence from your hit-and-run, call a car accident lawyer. Your lawyer’s job is to take care of every step in filing an insurance policy claim, prove that the other driver caused the hit-and-run, negotiate with the insurance company, and win damages for your insurance claim. The legal system is complex and can be difficult to navigate if you don’t know what you doing, but a personal injury lawyer understands your state’s laws and how to negotiate with insurance companies. Legal representation can be fairly affordable as most lawyers either offer payment arrangements or use a contingency plan so that you won’t have to pay anything upfront. Your lawyer will be eager to help you in any way that they can during this difficult time and make sure that everything is done to ensure you’ll receive compensation for your suffering. Ready to speak to a car accident lawyer? Feel free to reach out to the Dixon Injury Firm and discuss the options available for your hit-and-run case today.