A hit-and-run accident is one of the most aggravating types you’ll ever encounter. You have damages to your car, possible injuries, and no one to hold responsible for the incident. If you’re lucky, you may have been able to grab the other vehicle’s license plate number. Usually, however, the other car speeds off before you can write it down. You may think an attorney can’t help you following these crashes, but the truth is that calling a lawyer after a hit-and-run will help you file claims against the driver or, if necessary, your own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
This term covers several types of incidents. The one that comes to mind frequently involves another driver who panics and leaves the scene, most likely due to prior legal issues, intoxication, or known insurance lapses.
Other examples may not be as clear-cut because the other driver might not even be aware that they have caused an accident. These include incidents when a vehicle cuts you off and causes you to crash into a stationary object or another vehicle, or when a vehicle’s actions cause you to become involved in a chain of events and secondary incidents of which they are unaware.
All of these result in damages, but without being able to identify the other driver, collecting these damages becomes very complex.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Incident
Like with any other accident, your initial steps will involve contacting law enforcement. If you don’t have the license number, try to give as much information about the car and a physical description of the driver as you can. If the incident has caused damage to your vehicle, chances are it will have caused damage to the other one as well. Law enforcement can keep an eye out for a vehicle matching your description with damages that are in line with those expected from the incident. You will need the accident report for insurance purposes. Once you’ve contacted law enforcement, make sure to:
- See if there are any witnesses. Since they weren’t involved, they may have seen the car drive off after hearing the crash. You may be surprised at what a bystander can recall about the other vehicle.
- Take detailed photographs of your vehicle, the road, and other details of the scene. You may contact your insurance company for notification purposes, but don’t provide any written or recorded statements or details until you speak with an attorney.
- Address any physical injuries immediately, regardless of not having the other driver’s insurance information. Documenting injuries will be important when it’s time to file a claim.
- Contact an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer After a Hit-and-Run?
You may think that a lawyer can’t help you if you don’t have the other vehicle’s information. The truth is that an attorney will help you streamline the insurance process, ensure you get reimbursed for injuries and damages, and litigate if necessary.
A lawyer will help you negotiate with your insurance company whether the other driver is found or not. Negotiating is an important strategy to make sure you receive the maximum compensation allowed to cover your expenses.
Did you know that in Maryland, an accident with an uninsured driver requires insurance companies to drop deductibles to $250, regardless of your policy’s required deductible? Your attorney will make sure the insurance company upholds all of its obligations.
If the other driver is found, your attorney will begin the process of recouping your losses from their insurance company.
Arthur Crum, PA has been providing attorney services for accident victims for more than two decades. If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run incident, contact our offices today for your free consultation.