Ask a Car Accident Attorney: I Was the Victim of a Hit and Run… Now What?
Once you have gathered as much information as possible, call the police. The police will investigate the accident and try to track down the other driver. You should also contact your insurance company to file a claim. Follow this list to make sure you don’t miss anything:
- Call 911 if necessary
- Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the scene of the accident
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses
- Contact the police
- Contact your insurance company
- Save any receipts for medical treatment or repairs to your vehicle
- Keep a copy of the police report
- Contact a lawyer as soon as possible
What Resources Are Available to Me?
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it is important to remember that you are not alone. The police will do all they can to help you, and your insurance company has a vested interest in helping you track down the guilty driver. Most of all, having a lawyer on your side can make a big difference.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
A lawyer can help you in a number of ways after a hit-and-run accident, and while having help is always important in any accident, it’s never more important than with a tricky hit-and-run. Here’s what a lawyer will help you with:
Understanding Your Options
One of your most important rights is the right to compensation. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may be able to claim compensation for a variety of losses you’ve sustained. A lawyer can help you calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to and understand your options relative to the insurance company and possibly in filing a lawsuit against the other driver. If you file a lawsuit, you can seek damages for your injuries, as well as punitive damages to punish the other driver for their reckless behavior.
When a driver flees the scene, gathering the evidence you need can be much more difficult than after a normal accident. This is another area where your lawyer can help. The lawyer will interview any witnesses who saw the accident and ask if they are willing to be called to testify in court if necessary. The lawyer can also inspect your vehicle to look for damage that may have been caused by the accident. They will also look for any evidence that may have been left behind by the other driver, such as paint chips or broken glass.
A lawyer can also check the police report, which will contain information about the accident, such as the date and time of the accident, the location of the accident, and the involved vehicles. Your lawyer can subpoena records from the police department, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other sources. These records may contain information that can help identify the other driver. In some cases, it may be appropriate to hire a private investigator to gather evidence, which your lawyer can also do.
It is important to note that no lawyer can guarantee that they will be able to find the other driver or gather enough evidence to win your case. However, they can use all available resources to try to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, especially after a hit-and-run accident. Insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to make money. This means that they are often looking for ways to pay out as little as possible on claims.
If you are dealing with an insurance company after a hit-and-run accident, it is important to have someone on your side who is familiar with insurance law and who can advocate for your rights. The lawyer can explain your rights under the law and under your insurance policy. They can also explain the insurance company’s obligations to you.
Protecting Your Interests
If the other driver is found and charged with a crime, they may be facing jail time, fines, and other penalties. As the victim of the crime, you may have a number of rights and interests that need to be protected in the midst of all this. A lawyer can help you negotiate for restitution and can represent your interests in court if necessary.
You may also be entitled to make a victim impact statement. A victim impact statement is a written or oral statement that you can make to the court about how the crime has affected you, and this can influence the penalties the other driver will face. A lawyer can help you with this statement and any verbal statements you may be asked to give in court.
Getting You Compensation
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A lawyer can help you calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to and negotiate for it or represent you in court.
It can be difficult to get compensation in a hit-and-run, since many people flee precisely because they are under insured or not insured. However, in some cases, the courts may require the responsible driver to sell non-essential assets to compensate a victim. In other cases, your lawyer may work only with your insurance company or may help you identify a third party that holds some responsibility.
What you may seek compensation for can include:
These expenses may include hospital bills, doctor’s fees, and prescription drug costs. They can include not only past but projected ongoing costs, as well.
If you have been unable to work, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. This compensation can help you cover your living expenses while you are unable to work.
Pain and Suffering
This compensation is meant to help you recover from after-effects of the accident that can’t be easily quantified by numbers on a piece of paper, like a medical bill.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Attorney in Cameron, TX and Buffalo, TX
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you’re not alone. Contact Brian C. Gutierrez, attorney at law, to get the help you need.