Recent statistics show that hit-and-run accidents, in which a driver flees the scene of a car crash, are on the rise in North Carolina and across the nation. In addition to the heightened danger of injury of being struck by a hit-and-run driver, these types of accidents can make it more difficult for those harmed to obtain justice.
There are important steps to take after a hit-and-run accident to increase the likelihood of finding the at-fault driver and obtaining compensation for injuries and other losses. The hit-and-run accident attorneys of Hardison & Cochran in Raleigh can help you seek insurance payments and hold accountable the driver who hit you and fled the scene of an accident.
Steps to Take After Being Hit by a Hit-and-Run Driver
If you or a companion are able to do so after a hit-and-run accident, you should act right away to document the accident as much as you can. Take photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle, clothes (particularly in a pedestrian accident). Take photos of the accident scene, such as skid marks, broken glass, and damaged structural property.
Report the accident to police and obtain a copy of their report. As you seek medical care and repairs to your car or bike, be sure to keep copies of all bills, receipts and prescriptions. In a bicycling or pedestrian accident, save the clothes you wore after the accident.
Document and save everything related to a hit-and-run accident, your injuries and your recovery.
Contact a car accident attorney to review the details of your accident and explain your legal options. At Hardison & Cochran, we can devote investigators to a hit-and-run case, and potentially identify who hit you. In the meantime, we can work to obtain appropriate compensation for you through the insurance coverage you hold, before turning to insurance held by any at-fault driver.
Can Police Find the Hit-and-Run Driver Who Hit Me?
You may think it is a waste of time to report a hit-and-run collision. But you would be mistaken. Our experience is similar to findings of a research brief by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which says that, in the U.S., about half of all hit-and-run drivers are eventually identified.
Drivers in hit-and-run fatalities, which AAA studied, are more likely to be young men who have a history of DWI arrest and license suspension. They tend to drive older model cars and they are often found to have consumed alcohol at the time of arrest. Studies have shown that drivers who leave the scene of an accident are between two and nine times more likely to have been intoxicated at the time of the collision.
However, AAA also cites research demonstrating that people have a range of reasons for fleeing the scene of a crash, such as:
- Concealing criminal activity, such as driving without a license.
- Protecting themselves from what they think may be a staged accident scam.
- Thinking the crash was not serious enough to warrant a stop.
- Trying to hide the fact that they were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Police may find the hit-and-run driver who injured you. And that person may be ready to own up to their wrongdoing after making a hasty decision to flee the accident scene. But local police departments have limited resources to devote to car accident case.
In our hit-and-run accident investigations, we examine a variety of evidence, ranging from security camera footage found near the accident scene to automotive paint left on a victim’s clothes.
Once a suspect is identified, we can obtain a court order allowing us to examine additional evidence. For example, cellphone data may show an individual’s location and distracted driving activity at the time of the crash, and their car’s “black box” event data recorder records could indicate an airbag almost deployed, which is typical when striking a pedestrian. Even if a car has been junked and destroyed after an accident, documents that remain on file can be used to identify the owner.
We’ll Fight for Hit-and-Run Accident Compensation to You
In North Carolina, car owners are required to maintain auto insurance that specifically protects them in hit-and-run accidents. It is known as uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, and is built into liability insurance policies, which are required. Some drivers do not realize they have this insurance, which covers hit-and-run accidents.
UM coverage provides protection when an uninsured driver who is at-fault injures you or another covered individual. It also provides property damage coverage. It is applied in a hit-and-run case when the at-fault driver remains unknown because there is no liability insurance to pursue.
If the driver who hit you is identified, our hit-and-run accident attorneys would help you seek compensation through his or her auto liability insurance and/or other insurance or assets that might be available. If he or she cannot be found, we would work to make sure your insurer paid the maximum amount of compensation available to you through your UM coverage.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that insurance companies generally do not want to pay accident victims all they are owed. They are for-profit businesses, and their bottom lines depend on taking in more in policy premiums than they pay out in claims.
But it is the business of car accident attorneys to make sure accident victims like you and your family receive the compensation allowed by law. We can:
- Investigate your accident and possibly identify the driver who hit you.
- Calculate the full cost of your losses, including for medical bills, lost work time, property damage, and pain and suffering.
- Submit claims for maximum compensation from any insurance company(s) obligated to you.
- Aggressively negotiate with insurers to obtain a fair and proper settlement that you agree to accept.
- File a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf and present a strong case to a judge and jury if we cannot obtain a negotiated settlement that meets your needs.
Contact Our Hit-and-Run Car Accident Lawyers Today
It is best to begin hit-and-run car accident investigations and work on associated insurance claims as soon as possible. We can make sure we gather all available accident evidence and that we fully document the financial, physical and emotional impact the crash and your injuries have had on you.
Thousands of North Carolinians have turned to Hardison & Cochran during their most difficult days after serious accidents caused by other’s negligence or disregard for safety. We are ready to help you. Contact us today to get started with a free evaluation of your case.