If the driver who hit you fled the scene of the accident illegally, very little changes about how to prove that you were injured in the crash. You will not know who to take action against until the police catch the person, but the process of linking your injuries to the wreck is the same as in any other auto accident.
The police report will be useful evidence that the hit and run collision caused your injuries. You should always call the police immediately in the event of a hit and run. Minutes matter if the authorities are going to catch the person responsible.
Also, you will need a police report if you want to make a claim against your uninsured motorist insurance coverage (if you carry this optional add-on to your automobile insurance policy) for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
Another reason to call the police at the scene is to prevent false charges against you. If you do not call the police when someone hits you and flees, that person might falsely accuse you of being at fault and say that you were the one who left the scene illegally. When people panic and flee the scene, only to realize later the trouble they will be in if they get caught, sometimes they concoct a story to cover their tracks.
After the police let you leave the scene of the crash, you should go straight to the emergency room or urgent care center, depending on your circumstances. You should not wait until your symptoms worsen before seeking medical attention.
Your medical records will be important proof that the accident caused the trauma you suffered. If you delay in getting a professional examination, the insurance company might question whether your injuries were the result of some other event and not the hit and run.
Some injuries do not show signs immediately but could develop into life-threatening complications without prompt treatment. For example, internal bleeding from damaged organs sometimes does not become apparent until you are in critical condition. Other injuries that can have delayed symptoms include broken bones, head injuries, and neck and back injuries.
Try to get the names and contact information of people who might have seen the hit and run accident or what happened just before or after the crash. They could provide valuable information as to what caused the wreck.
With the popularity of high-quality home security video doorbells and motion sensor cameras, there might be relevant video footage from someone in the neighborhood where the accident happened. The police frequently use video evidence like this to catch criminals.
How Uninsured Motorist Works with Hit and Run Accidents
If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your automobile policy, it can help with some of your losses in the event of a hit and run crash. The insurance companies treat a driver who leaves the scene of an accident illegally the same as one who sticks around but has no insurance.
From a logical standpoint, this approach is fair. In both situations, you do not have the ability to pursue the other driver’s insurance coverage for damages.
If the driver who left the scene eventually gets caught, you can pursue compensation from his insurance company. If he has no liability insurance, your uninsured coverage (if you carry it) will still apply. If he has coverage, but it is less than the amount of your losses, you can get additional help from your underinsured motorist coverage, if you have that optional add-on to your automobile policy.
Damages for a Hit and Run Crash
The damages you can recover will depend on the facts of your case. You can get the same kinds of damages for being injured in a hit and run as you can for any other kind of collision. These losses can include:
- Medical bills for the treatment you needed for your injuries. This category can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, doctors, diagnostic tests, surgery, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages. If you could not work for a while because of the accident and the time you needed to recuperate, you can go after damages for the wages, salary, average tips, self-employment, and other income you missed.
- Disability. After severe injuries from an auto accident, sometimes people cannot work again.
- Diminished income potential. If you are able to work again after rehabilitating from your injuries, but residual impairment prevents you from making as much money as before, you can seek compensation for that loss.
- Pain and suffering. This category addresses the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced because of being injured in the hit and run accident.
- Other intangible damages. Depending on the facts of your case, you might have a claim for disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
At S. Burke Law, we care about you and your family. We pride ourselves on delivering personal, compassionate service to our clients. Call us today at 404-842-7838, for a free consultation.