What do I do after a Hit and Run Accident?

In a hit-and-run car accident, a negligent driver causes a collision and immediately flees the accident scene. In most circumstances, the at-fault driver flees before anyone else can obtain a license tag number or other identifying information for the vehicle.

If you recently suffered injuries in a hit and run accident, consult an experienced car accident attorney in Tampa area right away. Your lawyer can contact your insurance company to explore your potential legal options.

First, you can file a claim for various monetary benefits under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, assuming your accident occurred in Florida or another no-fault jurisdiction.

Under that policy, you can recover monetary damages for a portion of your lost income and medical expenses, up to a maximum of $10,000. You may also be eligible to pursue an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance carrier.

Your attorney can explore your legal options and help you decide on the best course of action for your case. If you file an insurance claim, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the process, including speaking to and negotiating with insurance company adjusters. Your lawyer can also pursue litigation if the insurance company refuses to offer fair monetary compensation for your injuries and other accident-related losses.

Finally, your lawyer can offer you sound legal advice throughout the proceedings and answer all your questions, helping you make intelligent and informed decisions about your case.

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Causes of Car Crashes

Car crashes typically result from another driver’s negligent or reckless behavior. In fact, when drivers know that they acted carelessly, they are more likely to flee an accident scene .

Some car accidents also happen when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substances may prevent someone from driving safely.

Hit and Run Car Accident

Specifically, an intoxicated driver may experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

These consequences may prevent a driver from seeing another vehicle or pedestrian in the vicinity, bringing about a devastating car accident.

A legally intoxicated driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08 percent or higher. However, a more stringent legal standard applies to a drunk driver under 21 years old or a commercial driver.

Intoxicated drivers may incur various criminal penalties if they ultimately sustain a DUI conviction. When a driver knows that they are drunk and subsequently cause an accident, they may flee the scene to try and escape liability or criminal prosecution. When that happens, you can turn to your own insurance company for monetary compensation.

Another common cause of traffic accidents is distracted driving. Drivers become distracted for many reasons, including using smart devices and non-electronic distractions like eating or drinking. Even daydreaming or talking to kids in the back seat can be highly distracting.

These activities may cause a driver to lose focus and turn their head away from the road, bringing about a severe accident.

Traffic accidents may also happen when drivers fail to follow standard traffic laws, especially laws about vehicle speeds, yielding the right-of-way to other drivers, and using turn signals and mirrors at the proper times.

Finally, some car accidents result from road rage or reckless driving. When a driver is in a hurry to arrive at their final destination, they may resort to tailgating, speeding, cutting other vehicles off in traffic, and other reckless driving maneuvers, to try and get ahead of other traffic.

However, exercising these maneuvers may negligently cause a single accident or series of accidents. They may also flee the accident scene to escape prosecution and other potential consequences.

If you suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident a negligent driver caused, you should talk with legal counsel as quickly as possible. Your attorney can discuss your accident with you, review police reports, and discuss your potential options for moving your case forward. Your attorney can also handle all written and oral communications with insurance company adjusters and work to secure a favorable settlement offer or litigation result on your behalf.

Why Do Drivers Flee a Car Accident Scene?

At-fault drivers typically flee the scene of an accident because they do not want to deal with the insurance ramifications. They may know that they do not have enough insurance coverage (or no insurance coverage) and fear the potential consequences of a future personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, you can turn to your own insurance company for monetary compensation. Your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and determine your available legal avenues for recovering the monetary damages you deserve.

Common Injuries in a Hit and Run Accident

Injuries in a hit-and-run accident can lead to permanent medical complications that cause an accident victim to experience pain and suffering for the rest of their life.

An accident victim’s injuries in a hit and run crash will vary based on the specific accident circumstances. Those circumstances may include the speeds of the involved vehicles, the type of accident, and how the injured driver or passenger’s body moves inside their car during the accident.

When a hit-and-run accident occurs with significant force, the accident victim’s head, elbow, or knee may strike something inside their vehicle, causing serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or broken bone. Car crash victims may also suffer include rib fractures, spinal cord injuries, full or partial paralysis injuries, soft tissue contusions, internal bleeding, open lacerations, and bruises.

Following a hit and run accident, follow through with any medical treatment regimen that your healthcare provider prescribes. For instance, you may need to undergo a medical procedure, such as surgery to reset a broken bone, or physical therapy. You may also need to consult a primary care doctor if your pain worsens.

During this time, when you complete your medical treatment, a car crash attorney in your area can begin handling the legal components of your case, such as gathering documents and preparing a settlement demand package on your behalf. After completing most of your medical treatment, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim with your insurance company, seeking the monetary recovery you deserve for your hit and run accident injuries.

If you have permanent injuries and will need long-term medical treatment, your lawyer can work with experts to estimate your future treatment needs and costs. Once you know your overall prognosis, your attorney can seek compensation for your past and future medical expenses.

Types of Car Accidents Where a Driver Speeds Away

Hit and run accidents come in various shapes and sizes. While some accidents are more severe than others, all accidents can potentially lead to severe injuries and the need for compensable monetary damages.

Some of the most common types of hit and run accidents involve:

  • Tailgate accidents, where a negligent driver follows another vehicle too closely or speeds
  • Head-on collisions, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to cross the center dividing line and strike the front of an oncoming vehicle
  • Sideswipe accidents, where one vehicle bumps into the side of another vehicle
  • Broadside accidents or T-bone collisions, where the front of one vehicle strikes the side panel of another vehicle, sometimes causing the car on the receiving end to overturn or spin around rapidly

If you suffered injuries in one of these types of hit and run collisions, speak with skilled and qualified legal counsel as quickly as possible after your accident and protect your rights under the statute of limitations. Your lawyer can immediately begin investigating your accident circumstances and filing a claim or lawsuit as needed. Your lawyer will then secure the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses.

Filing a Claim after a Hit and Run Accident

If you are eligible to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company following a hit-and-run accident, your attorney can assist you with every step of the process. A UIM claim proceeds in much the same way as a third-party personal injury claim.

First, your attorney can gather all the necessary documentation in your case, including police reports, medical treatment records, medical bills, witness statements, injury photographs, and property damage photographs. Your attorney can then assemble these documents into a settlement demand package and submit that package to the handling insurance company adjuster. Your lawyer can then negotiate a fair settlement offer from the adjuster on your behalf.

Settlement negotiations can sometimes take several weeks or months, depending on the insurance company (and the settlement adjuster) you are dealing with.

If the insurance company refuses to settle your uninsured motorist claim quickly and fairly, then your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation and prepare a lawsuit for filing in the court system right away. Your attorney can then assist you with every step of the litigation process in your case.

Litigating a Claim in Court

In some instances, uninsured motorist claims resulting from hit and run accidents may require litigation in the court system. The litigation process begins when your attorney files a lawsuit against your own insurance company.

The parties may then continue their settlement negotiations, but they will typically have to follow deadlines that the court establishes. For example, the parties must participate in the discovery process when they answer one another’s written questions, called Interrogatories, and take one another’s depositions.

These actions may put the parties closer to settling their case.

If the case does not settle, the parties can take their case to a civil jury trial. During this time, a jury will listen to evidence that the parties present at trial, review all documents admitted into evidence, and render a verdict in the case. The parties can also explore alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, like mediation or binding arbitration.

Recoverable Monetary Damages in Hit and Run Accident Cases

Following a hit and run accident, an accident victim in a no-fault jurisdiction, like Florida, may be eligible to recover monetary compensation through their PIP policy. That policy may compensate accident victims for a portion of their medical expenses and lost income, up to a maximum of $10,000.

Under an uninsured motorist claim, accident victims can recover monetary compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Lost income
  • Loss of spousal companionship
  • Loss of use of a body part
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Mental distress
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Permanent disability
  • Lifelong disfigurement
  • Costs associated with lifetime care, such as for care at a nursing home or assisted living facility

An attorney can help you determine which type of claim you should file in your case and assist you with every step of the process. Your attorney can also develop realistic expectations for your case, as well as estimate the monetary damages you can realistically recover for your injuries.

Tatiana Boohoff
Tatiana Boohoff, Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa.

Speak to a Car Crash Lawyer Near You Today

If you recently sustained injuries in a hit and run car crash, you should take the necessary legal steps to maximize your monetary recovery.

One of the most important steps you can take is to retain skilled legal counsel as quickly in the process as possible. That way, you safeguard your right to recover fair and reasonable monetary damages for your injuries and other losses. Additionally, you allow yourself to focus on fully recovering from your injuries.

Your attorney can help you throughout the process by aggressively negotiating with insurance company adjusters and, if necessary, litigating your case through the court system in your jurisdiction.

Never wait to seek help after your hit and run.

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Boohoff Law P.A. – Tampa Office

829 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Tampa, FL 33603

Phone: 813-725-5606

August 7, 2023
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