A hit-and-run accident can be far worse than a normal car accident, not least because seeking rightful compensation can be a special challenge. It is a hurdle that can be overcome with the help of a good Huntsville, TX and Rockdale, car wreck attorney.
8 Strategies for Pursuing Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident
1. Keep Yourself Safe
Always ensure you and anyone else in the area are safe immediately after an accident. Move your vehicle out of the way of traffic if possible. After a hit-and-run, seeking medical attention should be a priority, even if injuries seem minor at first. Medical treatment serves two primary purposes at this point:
Firstly, and most importantly, treatment ensures your well-being. Some injuries, especially internal ones, might not manifest immediately after the accident.
Evidence in Claims
Medical documents provide a clear record of the injuries sustained, treatments administered, and associated costs. These records can substantiate your claim for medical expenses as well as pain and suffering.
If you haven’t been badly injured, you can delay getting medical help for a short time as you take pictures or otherwise document the scene, but don’t wait too long. Even if you feel fine, remember that adrenaline can mask injuries and you should still get checked out.
2. Document the Scene
Even if the other driver has fled, gather as much information as you can as long as it’s safe to do so. This includes taking pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the location, as well as talking to any possible witnesses. Of course, you should only do this if you are not badly hurt.
One of the primary factors influencing the outcome of hit-and-run compensation cases is the quality and quantity of evidence available. All of these will help your case:
Photographs of the Scene
Use a camera or smartphone to capture clear photos of the scene, including damage to your vehicle, the road conditions, any debris from the accident, tire marks, or property damage. Multiple angles and distances can provide a comprehensive view, making it harder for insurers or defense attorneys to dispute your claim.
Bystanders or other drivers might have observed the incident. Approach them calmly, ask them what they saw, and if they’d be willing to provide a written or recorded statement. It’s possible a witness memory will help the police find the other driver, even if you yourself didn’t see their vehicle clearly.
Many commercial and residential properties have surveillance systems, so if the accident occurred near a property of this type, approach the owners or management promptly. They might have footage capturing the fleeing vehicle, its model, color, or even its license plate.
If you have a dash cam, review its footage. Ask your attorney about working with local authorities to gain access to public traffic cameras. These are strategically placed at intersections or busy roads and might provide the evidence you need.
3. Report the Incident
Always notify the police immediately. They’ll create an official report, which will be instrumental when you’re making claims or pursuing a legal action. Detail the events to the best of your ability: this ensures that the severity of the accident and any injuries are well documented and gives you a chance to relay all the information you know about the hit-and-run driver or vehicle while it’s still fresh in your mind. The police will look for the hit-and-run driver, so anything you can tell them will help.
4. Work with a Huntsville, TX and Rockdale Car Wreck Attorney
Engaging with a personal injury lawyer will significantly enhance your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve. Here’s just some of what we can do for you:
We collect and preserve evidence that supports your claim. This can include surveillance footage, witness statements, and expert testimonies, as mentioned above. With our experience in these cases, we can often find things that you would miss, including evidence that might lead to identifying the hit-and-run driver.
Identifying Avenues of Compensation
It may be possible to find the other driver, but, if not, we can help you figure out if there’s anything else you can do. You might access your own insurance or you might even find that there’s another party that bears at least partial responsibility, such as a car manufacturer or city service that failed to properly upkeep the roads. We know everywhere to look.
We’ll handle the communication and negotiation with the insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring you get a fair settlement.
Should your case proceed to trial, we’ll represent your interests there, advocating for maximum compensation while ensuring that you follow all the requirements of the Texas courts.
5. Prepare Yourself for Potential Challenges
While the law supports victims, there are always challenges. The most obvious challenge is locating the driver responsible for the accident. Without a responsible party, the claims process could shift entirely to your insurance.
Insurance companies often prioritize their bottom line over everything else. They might offer settlements that don’t truly cover the damages and injuries, they might challenge the claim entirely, and your own insurance company might even drag things out hoping to find the responsible driver even if there appears to be no hope of doing so.
6. Pursue a Full Recovery
Return for check-ups and adhere to all prescribed treatments. These records will show the ongoing impact of the accident and can justify claims for prolonged treatments or therapies. In addition, showing that you are serious about your recovery testifies to the reality of your injuries and makes it harder for insurers to claim you’re not hurt as badly as you say.
7. Communicate with Insurance Companies Effectively
Insurance companies are businesses, and often their primary concern is their bottom line. When you talk with them, follow a few best practices:
Document Every Interaction
Any calls, emails, or letters exchanged with insurance representatives should be recorded or kept. This paper trail can be invaluable if there are disputes later, and you should share all this with your lawyer right away.
Be Cautious with Initial Offers
First offers from insurance companies can be tempting, and many times the insurance company is hoping that you feel desperate enough to grab the first offer that comes around. But these first offers often undervalue your claim. Consult with your lawyer before accepting any settlements.
8. Get Prepared Legally
If you’ve been in discussion with the insurance company or another party, and settlements aren’t forthcoming, legal action might be inevitable. If that’s the case, here’s what you can do to help yourself:
Share Everything With Your Lawyer
Collaborate closely with your attorney. Provide them with all the evidence, from photos to medical bills, so they can create a compelling case. If you were partially at fault for the accident, never try to hide this from your attorney. Be open and honest: remember, your attorney is on your side and is bound by attorney-client privilege to keep discussions with you private.
Prepare for Your Pre-Trial Proceedings
Before a potential court appearance, there’s a series of processes you’ll have to go through, like depositions, interrogatories, and more. These are opportunities to gather more information, challenge opposing narratives, and possibly arrive at a settlement before trial. Your lawyer will help you prepare for these, so work with your lawyer and listen closely, so you’re properly prepared.
If you’ve been in a hit-and-run, don’t give up. Contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer and get a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side now.