A hit and run leaves most people shocked. When another driver hits you and then speeds away, it’s natural to feel unsure of what steps to take next.

Even though you might not know the driver’s identity, you still should not be responsible for the costs of your accident and injuries. Considering how expensive medical care can be, you want to know who’s going to pay for it. So, who pays for your damages?

The best way to answer this question is to consult a car accident attorney who can assess your best legal options.

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Why Do Drivers Hit and Run?

Many drivers do the right thing following a crash. They stop and exchange information, even if they were to blame. So, what motivates a driver to flee the scene of an accident instead of taking responsibility for their actions?

One common reason is fear. When a driver hits another vehicle or pedestrian, they may panic and instinctively choose to flee rather than face the potential consequences. They may fear the legal repercussions, such as fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment. Additionally, they may worry about the financial impact of an accident, such as increased insurance premiums or costly repairs.

In some cases, drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol may choose to flee the scene to avoid a DUI charge or other criminal consequences. Impaired judgment can impair their decision-making abilities and increase the likelihood of engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior.

Additionally, drivers who are uninsured or have a history of driving violations may be more likely to hit and run. If they know they will face legal consequences or financial hardship due to their lack of insurance or past traffic violations, they may feel that fleeing the scene is their only option.

Another factor that may contribute to hit and run accidents is a lack of empathy or concern for others. These drivers may lack the moral compass that compels them to take responsibility for their actions. They may simply prioritize their own interests and self-preservation over the well-being of others involved in the accident.

Hit and run accidents are illegal and morally wrong. Practically, they leave victims without an obvious source of compensation for their injuries and losses. Usually, in fault-based tort states, an at-fault driver’s insurance company covers a victim’s losses. If the at-fault driver flees the scene and is unknown, a victim cannot file a claim with their insurance.

Hit and run accidents occur far too often in the US – once every 43 seconds, to be exact. Fortunately, there are still options if you were the victim of a hit and run. You do not have to resign yourself to paying for your own losses. Instead, consult a car accident lawyer who can determine the best course of action.

Sometimes, the Police Can Locate the Responsible Driver

Police Can Locate the Responsible Driver in Hit and Run Case

In hit and run accidents, the immediate concern is possibly identifying the responsible driver. Fortunately, in some cases, the police can locate the individual behind the wheel. They might use eyewitness reports, video surveillance, and other resources to find them soon after the crash or even days or weeks later. Finding the driver opens avenues for legal recourse and compensation from them.

If the police locate the responsible driver, they can face criminal charges for their actions. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense and can result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time. By involving the police, you increase the chances of holding the driver accountable for their actions. However, criminal charges focus on punishing the driver and do little to compensate you for your losses.

In addition to criminal charges, you can also file an insurance claim to seek compensation if the driver has coverage. Insurance companies may provide financial assistance for medical bills, property damage, and other related expenses. You must act quickly and hire a car accident attorney if they find the driver. Your attorney can gather evidence to support your claim, such as eyewitness testimony and photographs of the accident scene.

If the driver does not have the required insurance or sufficient coverage, you might still have the option to file a lawsuit to seek compensation. This might be possible if the driver has assets that might be sufficient to satisfy a judgment. A car accident attorney experienced in hit and run cases will explore whether this is a viable option.

The key to navigating hit and run accidents is to involve the police and seek legal guidance. By doing so, you increase your chances of getting the justice and compensation you deserve.

Who is Responsible for Paying Damages When a Driver Flees and You Cannot Find Them?

Sometimes, you never learn who hit you and fled the scene. Even if you did everything right by calling the police immediately and giving them information, the driver might remain unknown. Not knowing who the at-fault driver is can be frustrating, to say the least. However, all hope is not lost.

Even though you can’t identify or locate the negligent driver, you may still be eligible for compensation through other avenues. These may include the following.

Uninsured motorist coverage

Auto insurance policies offer uninsured motorist coverage, and some states mandate it. This coverage provides compensation to an insured party if they suffer an injury or property damage in an accident due to an uninsured driver. Insurance companies treat hit and run drivers like uninsured drivers for coverage purposes.

You Still Need a Car Accident Attorney for an Uninsured Motorist Claim

Car Accident Attorney for an Uninsured Motorist Claim

One common misconception is that since you are filing a claim with your own insurance provider, there’s no point in getting legal representation. However, you can still face many legal obstacles when seeking compensation from your uninsured motorist coverage, and hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help the process in many ways.

First, you still must prove that the other driver was at fault and caused the accident to receive compensation from uninsured motorist coverage. Your attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work closely with law enforcement to build a strong case on your behalf.

Another reason why you need an attorney for a hit and run accident is to prove your damages. When dealing with an uninsured motorist claim, you might think that your own insurance company will be on your side and will take care of your best interests. After all, you chose the insurer and pay premiums, so you expect benefits when you need them in return.

However, all insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to minimize their own financial liability. This includes your own provider. They may try to downplay the seriousness of your injuries or offer you a settlement that doesn’t cover the full extent of your damages.

You always want to have a car accident attorney who knows how insurance companies operate and will fight to protect your rights. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure you don’t settle for less than you deserve. They’ll have the knowledge and experience to handle complex negotiations and will always prioritize your best interests.

Never underestimate the importance of hiring a car accident attorney for an uninsured motorist claim. They will work to prove the negligence of the hit and run driver, prove your damages, and seek the full compensation you deserve.

Most importantly, never give a recorded statement or accept a settlement offer without legal representation. Doing so can hurt your claim and financial future. Instead, consult a car accident attorney who handles everything for you.

Types of Damages in Hit and Run Accident Claims

Types of Damages in Hit and Run Accident Claims

Hit and run accidents can result in various types of damages, both economic and non-economic. Your damages may include the following:

Economic Damages

  • Medical expenses: This includes costs associated with emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care related to the injuries sustained in the accident. These costs can be incredibly high.
  • Property damage: Economic damages may cover repairing or replacing damaged vehicles or other property affected in the accident.
  • Lost income: You may be entitled to compensation for income you lost because you can’t work while recovering.
  • Loss of earning capacity: In cases where injuries result in long-term or permanent disability, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your reduced ability to earn income in the future.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering: Non-economic damages may include compensation for not only your pain but also the mental and emotional trauma you’ve suffered due to the accident and your injuries.
  • Emotional distress: Victims of hit and run accidents can pursue compensation for anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other psychological effects they experience.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: If injuries significantly impact your ability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed, you may receive compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.

Investigating Hit and Run Accidents: Challenges and Strategies

Investigating Hit and Run Accidents

Investigating this type of accident poses unique challenges due to the absence of the at-fault driver at the scene. However, skilled attorneys know how to employ various strategies to gather evidence and identify potential avenues for compensation, including:

Scene Investigation

Car accident attorneys work to preserve and analyze evidence from the accident scene, such as skid marks, debris, and witness statements, to reconstruct the events leading up to the accident.

Surveillance Footage

Your lawyer may search the area surrounding the accident scene for surveillance footage from nearby businesses, traffic cameras, or residential security cameras that may have captured what happened. This footage can provide valuable clues regarding the identity of the at-fault driver and their vehicle.

Witness Interviews

Attorneys interview witnesses who may have observed the accident or have information about the vehicle involved in the hit and run. Witness statements can help corroborate details of the incident and aid in identifying the responsible party.

Law Enforcement Assistance

Your lawyer will also work with law enforcement agencies to obtain accident reports, access databases, and leverage their investigative resources to identify the hit and run driver. Police investigations may uncover leads or evidence that can assist in locating the at-fault driver.

Expert Analysis

An attorney may also call upon the expertise of accident reconstruction specialists, forensic experts, or private investigators. These professionals can analyze physical evidence, vehicle damage, and other factors to piece together the circumstances of the hit and run accident.

Social Media and Public Appeals

There’s also a chance investigators will use social media platforms and public appeals to solicit information regarding the hit and run accident. Publicizing details of the accident and seeking information leading to the identification of the at-fault driver can help generate leads.

Pursuing Compensation after a Hit and Run Accident

Despite the challenges posed by hit and run accidents, skilled attorneys explore all available avenues to pursue compensation on behalf of victims.

For example, if police eventually find the at-fault driver, your lawyer will likely pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit. This legal action seeks to hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions and recover damages for your injuries and losses. They will also represent you to your uninsured motorist provider when necessary.

Your attorney will also fight for your rights when negotiating with any necessary insurance companies to secure fair and just compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. They’ll put their legal experience and knowledge of insurance laws to work in an effort to maximize your compensation.

If insurance negotiations fail to result in a fair settlement, your lawyer can take the case to trial. They’ll deliver compelling evidence and make persuasive arguments in court to seek a favorable verdict and get the money you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Car Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible

It is understandable how angry you are and how badly you want to know who pays for your damages and injuries in a hit and run accident. Hiring an experienced Augusta personal injury lawyer will seek the money you need and deserve for your losses. Please speak with a car accident lawyer immediately so they can get to work protecting your rights.