Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, when you least expect them. Being involved in a car accident creates anxiety and confusion. However, there is never an excuse to leave the scene of an accident.
Unfortunately, a recent study by AAA finds that hit-and-run deaths have reached a record high in the United States. Almost 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths are caused by hit-and-run accidents. Experiencing panic and fear after an accident is understandable, but leaving injured victims alone, with no one there to call for help, is unimaginable.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, we at OnderLaw, LLC understand that you’re likely feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of this type of accident, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our skilled attorneys will fight for your rights and help shoulder the financial repercussions of your accident.
This is a challenging time for you and your family. Call us at (314) 963-9000 so that we can talk about your case. Give us the burden of dealing with your accident so you can focus on what’s important, you and your family.
What is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Most people have heard of the term hit-and-run accident, but technically what does a hit-and-run accident entail? Typically, a hit-and-run accident is defined as a car being involved in some type of accident, either with another car, pedestrian, or even a fixed object, and then leaving the scene.
The person does not attempt to stop and identify themselves, exchange information, or render aid to anyone involved in the accident. In many cases, it doesn’t matter if you were the one responsible for causing the accident or not. If you were involved, you are not allowed to leave the scene.
It is also important to note that hit-and-run accidents don’t always happen on a highway or major public road. If you hit a car in a parking lot, for example, and then leave, that can also be considered a hit-and-run accident.
What Should You Do in the Event of a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Many people are in a state of shock after being involved in a serious car accident. That is even more true for any victim of a hit-and-run accident. Not only are you the victim of a crash, but you’ve also been victimized a second time by being abandoned when you need help the most.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, try to remain calm. Here is a list of things you should do if you’ve been hurt by a hit-and-run driver:
- Call the Authorities – The first step is to immediately contact the authorities. They can send emergency services your way if you or others have been hurt. They are also going to be on the front lines of investigating your accident and trying to piece together the identity of the driver that left you by the wayside.
- Take Photographs – If possible, take as many pictures of the accident as you can. The damage to your car, debris left behind, even skid marks on the road. Take pictures from different angles and try to get as many as you can. This can be helpful evidence down the road. If you’re unable to take pictures, consider returning to the scene at a later time to take photos that can help explain the accident.
- Take Notes – Talk to the police as soon as you can, and then be sure to request a copy of their report. Also, make sure that you also take your own notes. You want to get all the details down on paper while they are still fresh in your memory. Did you notice what the car looked like that hit you, what color it was, how many people were in the car, stickers, body damage, or other identifying information? Even small details are important.
- Call an Attorney – The police are going to be doing their job looking into the circumstances of your accident. An attorney can be a valuable investigative resource, as well. An attorney may be able to help secure video footage from surrounding businesses that could have captured the accident. They can also work to secure testimonies from both witnesses of the accident and expert witnesses, such as highly-respected medical professionals.
An attorney experienced at handling these types of cases can work on your behalf to get you the compensation you need to take care of your medical expenses and property damage.
At OnderLaw, LLC, we will review the circumstances of your case and give you advice on your best possible course of action. We want to help you whether or not the driver of the hit-and-run accident is found. You aren’t alone in this; we’re here to help.
Consequences of a Hit-and-Run Accident
Missouri state law has guidelines that every driver must follow if they’re involved in any type of a car accident. Failure to follow these state-mandated guidelines means a driver can be charged with a hit-and-run violation and be subject to criminal and civil penalties.
In Missouri, the party responsible for a hit-and-run accident can be charged with a Class D felony, if victims were left injured or dead by the accident. This is punishable by a combination of a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to 4 years.
There may also be civil penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident. Victims are allowed to seek damages in court, such as compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. In addition to criminal and civil penalties, a hit-and-run accident can result in the driver’s license being suspended or revoked. In many cases, their insurance company may also opt to cancel their coverage.
When Should I Call an Attorney?
If you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, the sooner you get a legal team on your side, the better. Some people may feel like they need to wait to call a lawyer until they have more information from the police, or the driver is caught. An experienced attorney may be able to help gather evidence in some situations, such as video surveillance from surrounding businesses.
An attorney can also help negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you are getting fair compensation following the accident. If the driver is caught, an attorney will also be able to help you file a civil complaint. It all amounts to helping you get the compensation and justice that you deserve.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Missouri is five years. If the accident resulted in a death, you have three years to file a wrongful death claim. But the sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they can begin to gather evidence and enlist the help of expert witnesses to help your case.
How Can a St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of a hit-and-run accident, you have rights. Hit-and-run drivers need to be held accountable for their reckless actions, which left you hurt and struggling to cope with huge medical bills.
At OnderLaw, LLC, our number one priority is to put your well-being first. We strive to earn your trust and treat you like a family member. We don’t stamp a number on your case and rush you through the legal system. We take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case, then provide you with honest legal advice.
Trust OnderLaw, LLC to take care of you with compassion and respect. Find out what makes us different and call (314) 963-9000 for a free case review.