Being involved in a car accident is jarring, and it can leave you overwhelmed and unsure about the future. It’s especially tough to know what to do if you’re hurt in a crash with a hit and run driver. To prove fault in a hit and run, it’s critical to take certain steps after an accident occurs.
At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, our car accident lawyers have successfully helped many clients recover compensation from hit and run cases. Following these tips can help prove fault after a hit and run and ensure your rights are protected.
Call The Police Immediately
If you’ve been hit by a motorist who left the scene of the accident, call 911 right away. The sooner you call the police, the better the chances are of catching a hit and run driver. Law enforcement has access to traffic cameras that may show who hit you, making it easier to apprehend them and hold them accountable.
If you file a claim with your own auto insurance company, a police report and video footage can provide valuable documentation of the accident, property damage, and your injuries. Your insurance company won’t pay a hit and run claim unless you have evidence to back up your story.
Seek Medical Care As Soon As Possible
Going to the emergency room or visiting a doctor right after a collision is critical to ensure your injuries are properly treated and documented. Even if you believe you’re not seriously hurt, many injuries and conditions don’t show symptoms until days or weeks later.
Medical records provide valuable information that can back up your hit and run accident claim. If you wait to seek medical treatment, your insurance company may try to question the extent of your injuries and refuse to provide compensation for your medical bills or other damages.
If you happen to catch even a partial license plate number of the vehicle that hit you, write it down immediately. Also, note the make, model, and color of the vehicle and the hit and run driver’s description. If you’re unable to write this information down, ask a passenger, witness, or bystanders to assist you, or use the voice recorder on your phone. Make sure to obtain contact information and statements from any witnesses who may have seen what happened. This may include drivers and passengers of other vehicles, pedestrians, and passersby.
If it’s safe to do so, take photographs and videos of the scene, damage to your vehicle, traffic lights, and signals, and anything else that may help prove your claim. Again, you can never have too much evidence when it comes to proving fault in a hit and run case.
Call Your Insurance Company
Don’t wait to call your insurance company to report the crash. Waiting days or weeks can end up being an excuse for them to question whether your claim is legitimate. When you speak with a representative or adjuster, do not admit fault for the accident.
Your insurance company will likely do their own investigation. If there are any developments in the case or the hit and run driver is found, make sure to notify them. However, don’t sign anything or accept a settlement without talking to a personal injury attorney first.
How An Attorney Can Help
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your auto insurance policy should pay for your medical bills, property damage, and some other accident-related expenses. That’s why personal injury lawyers recommend that motorists purchase higher coverage amounts than required by the state.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage will allow you to recover compensatory damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress from your own insurance company even though the at-fault driver cannot be located. It is highly recommended that you purchase Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage on your own automobile insurance policy in an amount equal to your liability insurance policy limits. You should never sign a waiver of UM coverage on your own automobile insurance policy because then you will be unable to recover compensatory damages for your pain and suffering and other general damages if you are ever injured by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who is driving without automobile insurance. This waiver would prevent you from being able to recover regardless of the severity of your injuries.
Figuring out policy limits and what exactly is covered can be confusing. An attorney can go over your policy with you and estimate how much you may be entitled to recover. If your insurance company is giving you a hard time about your claim, your lawyer can conduct their own investigation, gather all the evidence, and build a solid case to show that the hit and run driver was at fault.
If the negligent driver is found, your case will become more complex. Your attorney can help you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and aggressively negotiate on your behalf. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime and could be considered outrageous behavior, so you may be entitled to pursue punitive damages, as well.
Contact A Lawyer To Learn More About Proving Fault In A Hit And Run Case
If you’ve been hurt in a hit and run accident, we can help. To schedule a free consultation, call Thomas, Conrad & Conrad at 610-867-2900 in Bethlehem, or contact us online. Our lawyers represent injured victims throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and have additional locations in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Monroe Counties.