Perhaps the worst kind of auto accident to be in is a hit-and-run, which describes an incident where a driver hits another car, then flees the scene before authorities can arrive to collect information. State law in every part of our country requires drivers to stop after being part of an accident that involves another vehicle, and there can be serious consequences for those who do not comply here. Unfortunately, though, those consequences might also spill over to you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.
At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, however, we’re here to help. Our personal injury attorney services include, all types of truck and car accidents, helping you navigate through a hit-and-run and receive the compensation you deserve despite the complications. Here are some basic steps to follow if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.
Safety Always Comes First
No matter what, your safety is the number one priority. If you’re still on the road, move away from traffic to a safe spot so that you can assess the damages and start collecting information.
In addition, check with anyone else in your vehicle if applicable to make sure they’re okay. Also, make sure to call 911 and report the incident immediately.
Seeking Medical Attention
If anyone in the vehicle is hurt, even in a very minor way, medical attention should be sought from first responders. Some injuries may seem minor only to become more significant later on, particularly whiplash or other back injuries, so report any symptoms immediately even if they don’t seem like a big deal.
If anyone in the vehicle does receive medical attention, document this. Write down the kind of attention received, any medications given, and take the information of the responder who gave the assessment.
Call the Police
Another vital step is to call the police. Depending on where you are and how quickly they can respond, a hit-and-run may be treated as attempted murder, or a felony hit-and-run. As such, it’s important to have the incident reported and documented in order to begin the process of seeking justice against whoever committed this crime.
Cooperate With Responders
We know this is a stressful time, but you have to comply with all first responders and law enforcement officials. Take any medical care they recommend, and comply with their requests. Only speak to these officials about sensitive details of the scene – no one else. This is because anything you say to an insurance company or anyone else could be used against you in court, so it’s important that your statements are made to the right people.
We’ve touched on it a couple times already, but it’s worth repeating: document everything. Write down all the details you can remember about the driver, the vehicle, its make and model, and any other information that could be helpful to law enforcement in their search for this driver.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Finally, contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accidents. At William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we have extensive experience representing clients who have been victims of hit-and-runs, and our legal team is here to help you get the justice you deserve. We’ll take care of filing claims with insurance companies, handling negotiations with defense attorneys for any criminal cases involved, and pursuing civil lawsuits when necessary.
Who Pays for Your Damages?
In most hit-and-run cases, a common question arises: Who is going to pay the extensive medical expenses and time off work or sadly, who will pay for the funeral expenses for your loved one killed in the incident?
In the state of Utah, PIP coverage is a required element of all motor vehicle insurance policies. This coverage can be used to pay for your immediate medical expenses up to the limit of coverage. The minimum limit for this coverage is $3,000.00 and an ambulance ride and visit to the emergency room can exhaust your coverage quickly. Your next recourse is to make a UM or “uninsured motorist” claim against your own policy to cover all other expenses up to your available limits. Sometimes, these cases are not easy to prove and your insurance will have specific guidelines as to what qualifies as a “UM” claim.
Most insurance companies require that you file a police report within 24 hours of the incident. Canvas the neighborhood for witnesses and check your car for any signs of paint transfer as this will be good solid evidence that a collision took place. Your UM coverage will reimburse you for any bills not paid through PIP and will compensate you for surgeries, future medical, loss of income, etc. up to the policy limit available. The minimum coverage for UM cases is $25,000, but we have seen in far too many cases that this is not enough money where you have sustained serious injuries especially in cases where surgery is required.
With the right legal representation, you can receive the compensation you need and deserve after a hit-and-run accident. William Rawlings & Associates, LLC has decades of experience representing car accident victims in Utah, so contact us today to schedule your free case review.