Car accident lawyers often get asked, “Who pays for my injury after a hit-and-run.” This post will give you some information that will help you if you are the victim of a hit-and-run. Hit-and-run crashes (also known as hit-and-skips in some parts) are reported to occur about every 43 seconds in the US (WTOP). The AAA Foundation recorded 2,049 fatalities from hit-and-run crashes in the US in the year 2016, the highest ever recorded. With hit-and-run crashes on the rise, what do you do if you fall victim to a driver who flees the scene of an accident?
In 2017, 15% of Ohio car crashes involved a driver that ran. That same year only 9,509 of the 46,738 hit-and-run crashes in Ohio were solved. With those odds, the motives to flee aren’t fully researched. One can speculate, however, various reasons as to why one may flee after being involved in an accident. Some that come to mind may be that the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving without auto insurance, driving without or on a suspended license, or wanting to avoid criminal charges. Likely those who flee have something they don’t want to be revealed to the authorities that will further incriminate them.
Handling the aftermath of a car accident is stressful on its own, especially if you are injured as a result. But a new headache is created when the driver at fault runs off. The first thing to do is to call the police. Once they arrive, if you ever find yourself in this situation, the more information you have, the better the chances are the police will locate the driver responsible. More information also helps your car insurance company make decisions regarding your claim. The DMV recommends collecting the contact information of any possible witnesses, writing down the time and location of the accident, as well as taking photos of the accident scene and damage to your vehicle. More information not only helps the police have a better chance at finding the driver responsible, but it will also help disprove any type of insurance fraud on your part.
Under Ohio law, it is required that drivers carry liability insurance. Liability insurance is not helpful when you don’t know under whose policy to make a claim. If the wrongdoer is found and has insurance, you will be able to file your claim under his or her insurance policy. If the driver at fault cannot be found, does not have insurance, has a policy that doesn’t cover your damages, you can file a claim with your own insurance through uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Therefore, it is very important to not only have this additional coverage but to have a high enough policy limit to protect you and your family. Sometimes figuring out which insurance coverage may cover your accident can prove difficult in these cases a skilled car accident lawyer can help.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In a perfect world, all drivers who cause accidents and run would get caught and brought to justice. Sometimes drivers flee in order to avoid being charged with additional crimes such as driving under the influence or without a license. Whatever the reason and as much as police officers would like to catch the drivers who flee, there are just too many hit-and-run accidents with too little information. If there is evidence that pinpoints the identity of the driver, a warrant may be issued. But eventually, there comes a time where nothing else can be done. The best thing to do is to tell the police all you can recall about the incident, the driver, the car, license plate number, etc. See if any surveillance cameras are around. Check to see if there are witnesses. The more information, the better your chance is at finding the runaway driver.
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run car accident, speak with one of our car accident lawyers near you today. Our car accident attorneys will give you a free case consultation either over the phone or in person.