Introduction Hit & Run Car Accidents, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Most every state has laws and statutes requiring individuals involved in a crash with another vehicle to (at the very least) stop at the scene of the crash and contact the local police. In some cases, these laws may require the drivers involved to exchange information – their names and insurance policy numbers – with one another and render aid if there are any injured persons present at the scene. These laws serve an obvious and beneficial function: They provide clear guidance to individuals who may be shaken up by a crash as to what they must do to, and they help each party gather the information they need to file a claim with the appropriate insurance carrier.
These well-intentioned laws do not – indeed, they cannot – prevent someone from disobeying them. A driver may choose to flee the scene of a crash that he or she caused, committing what is commonly referred to as a “hit and run” car accident. These accidents present challenges to the injured motorists and occupants as it can become difficult for these individuals to obtain compensation for their injuries.
The Challenges of Hit & Run Car Accidents
A hit-and-run accident is one in which the driver responsible for causing the crash fails to stop at the scene of the accident but instead decides to flee. The reasons why a driver might do this are varied:
- The driver may fear arrest if he or she was driving while distracted or driving drunk;
- The driver may fear deportation if he or she is present in the United States without permission; and/or
- The driver may not have insurance and may not have the financial means to pay compensation to the injured parties.
Whatever the reason for running from the scene of the accident, the hit-and-run driver places the injured victim(s) in a difficult position. Under normal circumstances, the injured victims would be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault driver and recoup expenses they incurred as a result of the crash like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, when the at-fault driver flees from the scene of the crash, the victim(s) have a more difficult time identifying the at-fault driver so that he or she can be sued. Law enforcement agencies and/or private investigators may be called in in order to assist in finding the at-fault driver.
What To Do After a Hit & Run Accident
The steps you take immediately following a hit and run accident can determine how difficult it will be for you to recover compensation for your injuries from the person responsible for colliding with you. The more details you can remember, the easier it will be for your attorney and for the police to identify the vehicle and its driver. Do not rely on your memory alone, however: as soon as possible, write down:
- The make, model, and color of the vehicle that struck you;
- Where/how the vehicle struck you (this can help police and investigators look for vehicles that have damage to a specific part of the car;
- Any witnesses who saw the crash (including your own passengers) and what they remember;
- A description of the driver: the sex, race, hair color, skin color, and/or clothing of the driver can all assist an investigator or detective in locating the individual;
- As much information off of the license plate as you can remember (for example, was the license plate temporary or permanent? What was the number off of the plate – or any of the numbers? What state issued the license plate?) Even remembering a few numbers or letters off of the plate can help narrow down the list of potential suspect cars – just be sure you remember the order in which the numbers and/or letters appeared!
- The direction in which the car left as it fled the scene;
- Any other distinguishing characteristics about the car that you can remember – preexisting damage, an unusual color, after-market parts like undercarriage lighting or oversized tires.
Share this information with the police, as they will most likely be investigating the crime of hit-and-run or fleeing the scene of an accident. Your attorney can also use the information to assist in identifying the owner of the car so that the driver can be located and served with a lawsuit.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC Today
Stern Law, PLLC and attorney Ken Stern are not afraid of the difficulties and challenges in identifying and bringing suit against hit-and-run drivers. We thoroughly comb the facts and evidence available in order to prepare the most persuasive case possible. Doing so not only increases the chances that your case will be successful, but in some cases the sheer weight of the evidence may compel the hit-and-run driver to admit his or her wrongdoing and settle your case. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 to discuss the facts of your hit-and-run case today.