Hit-and-run accidents are an unfortunate reality in today’s world. There are a number of different, if unacceptable, reasons for why a driver would flee the scene of an accident—from driving drunk to driving without a license, to just simply trying to avoid responsibility for an accident that was their fault. What do you need to do if you’re in an accident and the other driver runs? There are options that you can take to obtain compensation for your property damage and personal injuries that were a result of a hit-and-run accident in Asheville, North Carolina.
Our team is experienced in handling hit-and-run cases, and we know how to investigate these collisions and make sure you get the compensation that you deserve. Please call our office at (800) 222– 2430for a free case evaluation, and we can help determine what steps you need to take to protect your rights. Your free case evaluation has no strings attached, and you can decide to go with another law firm if you decide that we are not the right fit for your specific needs.
How Does Insurance Coverage Work in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The question of insurance coverage is almost always the first thing we’re asked about when we get a new Asheville hit-and-run injury case. This is especially true when the police and unable to determine who was driving the other vehicle.
If the police are able to determine who was driving the other vehicle, the claim can continue against the negligent hit-and-run driver’s insurance company just like any other motor vehicle accident claim. We will file a lawsuit against the other driver, and that driver’s insurance company will try to negotiate and settle the claim. This is generally the base case scenario for a hit-and-run accident, as it will be very difficult for the hit-and-run driver to blame you for the accident.
Even if the other driver does try to blame you or whoever was driving your vehicle, a jury is unlikely to believe the negligent driver. In the eyes of the world, running away from the scene of a collision is an admission of guilt. Even if we are unable to prove why the other driver ran away, such as to avoid a driving while under the influence charge, a jury will be thinking through all the potential reasons in the back of their minds throughout the trial. While the goal is always to settle a case whenever possible for a fair amount, we prepare each case as though we are going to end up at a jury trial.
If the police are unable to determine the identity of the hit-and-run driver, you will be able to pursue compensation under your own uninsured motorist coverage insurance policy. Every policy in North Carolina is required to carry some amount of uninsured coverage. The only requirement for recovery on an uninsured motorist policy is that the other driver is either unable to be identified or was uninsured at the time of the collision. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of instances where the other driver is eventually tracked down, just to discover they were driving without a license and didn’t have insurance coverage.
An uninsured motorist claim is handled almost like any other motor vehicle collision claim. Your insurance company can defend the case “in the name of” the other driver. These claims usually settle, as your insurance company likely has little stomach for defending the indefensible. However, you still have to present the claim correctly to your insurance company, and that’s where an experienced hit-and-run attorney can help move the process forward to a successful resolution.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
There are some major categories of damages that you can recover if you are harmed in an Asheville hit-and-run accident:
Medical Expenses: This is often the first concern of our clients that were hurt in a hit-and-run collision. This is doubly true if you don’t have health insurance. Paying for an ambulance and hospital visit out of pocket can be financially ruinous. These expenses will be recoverable from the hit-and-run driver, or from your own insurance company should the other driver not be identified.
Lost Wages: If you miss work as a result of the collision, you will be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. Make sure you keep an accurate record of the time you missed, either because you were too injured to work, or because you had to take off time from work to go to a doctor’s appointment. It is also helpful to let your supervisor know about what happened so that they can help you document your missed time.
If you are self-employed, it is even more important that you keep detailed records of your missed time, and copies of any corroborating evidence you have to support that you actually had to take time away from your business. Self-employed victims often find it the most difficult to make a complete recovery on their lost income claim.
Pain and Suffering: You will be entitled to pain and suffering damages for your physical and emotion anguish as a result of a hit-and-run collision where the other driver was at fault. Some people find it helpful to keep a calendar or diary of symptoms to help refresh their recollection of the pain and suffering that they endured.
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, please contact us for a free case consultation. We will help you determine the best way to preserve the evidence to effectively present the claim either in court or to your insurance company.
What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
You should take a few initial steps to protect your rights after a hit-and-run collision:
Call the Police. You need to call the police, and insist that they write up an accident report. Many insurance companies will complain strenuously about paying out uninured motorist coverage if there is not a police report showing when and where the accident occurred. This will also help with the initial logistics of getting your insurance company to repair your vehicle and obtain a rental car for you.
Photograph the Scene: Make sure to photograph the scene of the collision, the damage to your vehicle, and your injuries. This will help deal with the insurance company if they dispute the basic facts of the collision.
Gather Witness Contact Information: If there were any witnesses to the collision, make sure to get the names and phone numbers of everyone that saw the collision so that you can provide this contact information to your lawyers. The lawyers will contact these witnesses, and they will be instrumental in helping you obtain fair compensation for your damages and injuries.
Call a Lawyer Before Giving a Statement to an Insurance Company: We highly recommend talking with a lawyer before giving any sort of recorded statement to your insurance company. We know the pitfalls and traps that these companies will try to trick you with, and we can help you avoid losing your uninsured motorist coverage.
If you’ve been in a hit-and-run collision with injuries in the Asheville area, please give our office a call at (800) 222– 2430 for a free, no strings attached, case consultation. You do not owe our law firm a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.