Hit and run accidents are on the rise across the nation, resulting in a shocking amount of deaths, injuries, and property damage. A USA Today report from November 2013 notes that hit and run accidents have become a “troubling plague,” increasing over 13 percent in a three-year period per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data.
If you are involved in a hit and run car accident, you will probably be wracked with fear, anger, and numerous questions on how to handle the situation. First, if you were the driver who made a poor judgment call and fled the scene of the accident, go to the local police station and tell them what has happened. Failure to work with officials could result in serious criminal charges.
What Victims of Hit and Run Accidents Should Do
On the other hand, if you were the victim of a hit and run accident, there are several things you’ll want to do. First of all, call 911 and get medical attention. Even if you don’t see any outward signs of injury, get an examination from your doctor shortly after the accident anyways to rule out internal injuries and for legal reasons should symptoms later manifest. Do not attempt to chase the driver.
Oftentimes, drivers flee an accident because they are involved in other illegal endeavors like:
- driving without a license;
- driving under the influence;
- fleeing from another crime; or
- driving without insurance.
They might be dangerous, so let the police handle the job of tracking them down. If you’re able, while at the scene of the accident try to obtain as much information and evidence as you can.
You can get the following evidence yourself at the Kirkland crime scene if you aren’t seriously injured:
- photos of the damage and of the accident scene; and
- witness statements and contact information.
Video surveillance might be helpful in hit and run accident cases. Later on, you and your attorney can ask the City of Kirkland and any nearby stores for any video they may have captured at the time.
Calling Your Insurance Company
As soon as you’re able after the accident, call your insurance company to report the accident. If the hit and run driver caused the accident and is tracked down, you might be able collect compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company. It’s often the case though, that they can’t be found, or have very little if any insurance.
You may still have another means of collecting recompense, though. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for damage under this coverage.
Obtaining Compensation Can Get Complicated
Unfortunately, there are many cases in which hit and run accident victims’ insurance companies don’t honor their customers’ uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage claims as they should. They might try to minimize your injuries or discredit your claim in some way to avoid high payouts.
In order to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve after an accident and to explore the various options for financial recovery you have, consult a local personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will discuss all your possible legal options with you and help you take the steps necessary to pursue compensation for your damages.
Consultation with an Accident Lawyer
For a free consultation with a hit and run accident attorney, contact Max Meyers Law PLLC. We serve Kirkland and surrounding areas, and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Call or 425-399-7000 today for your free case evaluation.