Hit-and-run accidents occur anytime an individual leaves the scene of an incident without stopping. These incidents affect passenger vehicles, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Every hit-and-run accident involves elements of negligence, but pursuing civil lawsuits against a defendant can be difficult. In some cases, a victim may never discover the individual responsible for causing harm.
Factors that Help Law Enforcement Identify Hit-and-run Perpetrators
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, knowing what to look for as the other driver flees can help you obtain compensation later. Look for and remember these pieces of information if you are physically able:
- License plate – If you can’t catch the numbers, look for any other differentiating features, such as the county name, state, and tag expiration date.
- Vehicle details – Look for details such as a broken rear light, and the color, make, and model of the vehicle.
- Driver details – Identifying the driver will improve your ability to catch him or her later. Take note of gender, hairstyles, and features.
Hit-and-run accidents happen in the blink of an eye. If you notice any details, repeat them to yourself out loud or record them on a phone until help arrives. This key information could help you secure compensation later.
Contact law enforcement immediately in any hit-and-run case. Provide them with as much information as possible, but do not attempt to go after the driver on your own. Always seek medical attention after any accident. Symptoms may not manifest until days or weeks later, and medical records play a vital role in securing fair compensation.
Why Drivers Flee from the Scene of an Accident
Drivers who flee from an accident have something to hide. They may have illegal goods in their vehicle, be intoxicated, or have a criminal history. Some may not have insurance or enough insurance to cover the cost of an accident.
Reach out to an experienced hit-and-run accident attorney as soon as possible. In addition to protecting your rights to compensation, our attorneys can also assist an investigation into the accident, and in identifying the person responsible.
Filing Civil Claims in Hit-and-Run Accidents
To obtain compensation after a hit-and-run incident, the plaintiff must prove negligence. Leaving an accident scene is illegal and unreasonable, but it may not always prove causation in an accident. In other words, leaving the scene does not prove that the person who left actually caused the accident.
With the help of accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and others, we can successfully determine negligence in a hit-and-run case. However, we cannot file a claim against a defendant unless we know his or her identity.
If you do not know the identity of the person, your attorney will still play an instrumental role in your recovery. Your own insurance policy for underinsured motorists should cover your injury costs in unidentified hit-and-run cases.
Unfortunately, many insurers give beneficiaries a hard time by delaying or denying valid claims. Insurance companies, as profit-driven organizations, want to keep their payouts as low as possible. Our attorneys can help you obtain the full benefits you deserve through your policy.
Finding a Springfield, Mo., Attorney for Hit-and-Run Accidents
At Douglas, Haun & Heidemann, PC, we understand the frustrating nature of hit-and-run accidents. In addition to suffering with the property damage and physical pain an accident causes, you may not know who caused the accident or why. Allow us to help you track down the person responsible and hold him or her accountable for acting recklessly.
Reach out to our Springfield or Bolivar office to learn more about how we can help you secure damages in a hit-and-run accident case.