What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Posted on Dec 14, 2018 in Personal Injury
If you were dining at a restaurant and someone walked by your table, knocked over a full glass of iced tea into your lap, and just kept on walking, you’d be pretty angry and indignant. That situation, in the big scheme of things, is a relatively minor annoyance and inconvenience. But if a negligent or reckless driver hits your car, seriously injures you or your passengers, and then speeds away to avoid responsibility for the havoc they caused, it is anything but minor.
Hit-and-run drivers cause thousands of collisions, injuries, and deaths every year. According to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit-and-run drivers are responsible for approximately 1,500 deaths every year, and over 11% of all reported car accidents involve at least one driver who immediately flees the scene.
Some hit-and-run drivers are ultimately found and held accountable, both by the criminal justice system and by injury victims who can then sue them for compensation. Many irresponsible drivers, however, disappear completely and are never identified. When that happens, accident victims can be left wondering what if anything they can do to get help paying for the hefty costs and bills they have incurred because of the driver’s negligence.
Steps to Take
If you are in a crash with a hit-and-run driver, you are encouraged to take the following steps:
- Try to identify the driver and their car. In the confusion and shock that follows an accident, it can be difficult to get a good look at the other driver or their vehicle if they immediately hit the gas and flee the scene. But any identifying information you can provide to police may ultimately help them find the driver. Even if you can’t get a physical description of the driver or their license plate number, things like the make, model, color, or condition of the car could be useful.
- Keep in touch with the police. The police are no doubt looking for the driver who injured you, and you’ll want to know if and when they find that person or otherwise turn up any new information.
- Make a claim with your own insurance company. Even if the police can’t find and identify the hit-and-run driver, your own insurance company may be a source of compensation and relief through any uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage you have. In Louisiana, all car insurance policies come with UIM coverage unless specifically rejected in writing by the policyholder. If you do have UIM coverage (and you should), such coverage includes injuries or wrongful death caused by a hit-and-run driver.
If you do file a claim with your insurance company, they may attempt to deny coverage or minimize the amount they pay out. Frequent positions that car insurance companies take when addressing hit-and-run claims from their insureds include:
- Denying that the other driver was responsible for the accident
- Blaming another, identifiable driver for the crash
- Asserting that the accident did not cause your injuries
- Arguing that your injuries are not severe enough to qualify for compensation under your policy’s terms.
For these reasons, it is essential that you consult with an experienced auto accident attorney if you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident or are filing a claim with your insurance company. A good auto accident lawyer will negotiate with your insurer to ensure that they meet their obligations under the policy you have paid for.
Call Bloom Legal Today for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Car Accident Injuries
With fierce advocacy and unwavering dedication, the New Orleans car accident attorneys at Bloom Legal will fight to get you what you deserve when you have been injured because of another driver’s negligence or reckless conduct. Contact us today at 504-636-6729 or through our contact form to arrange for your free consultation to discuss the details of your claim.