“Hit-and-run” accidents involve situations where a driver causes a traffic or pedestrian accident but flees the scene before the injured party can confront and identify the assailant. In addition to physical pain, victims of a hit & run accident must endure the moral anguish that comes with being deprived of the opportunity to hold their assailants accountable for their reckless actions. However, hit & run victims may still have a chance to recover compensation for their injuries despite being unable to identify the at-fault driver. This blog discusses what you should do following a hit & run accident.
General Steps to Take in a Hit & Run Accident
Protect your Health. Your health is the most important thing to consider in an accident. If you sustain any injuries due to a hit & run accident, you should seek medical attention. If needed, call 9-1-1 to ensure emergency responders have an opportunity to address any severe or life-threatening injuries that you or anyone else involved in the accident might have received. Even if you think your injuries aren’t severe, you should make an appointment with a doctor to assess the full extent of your condition. Sometimes serious bodily injuries aren’t noticeable for days after an accident. Your doctor can perform a thorough medical examination and recommend appropriate treatment to minimize the severity of your injuries.
File a Police Report. The state of Louisiana considers it a crime for someone to flee from an accident they caused. Therefore, the Louisiana State Police or other local agency will want to investigate the crash to try to apprehend the hit & run driver in the interests of law enforcement. Try to remember details about the hit & run driver and their car. For example, the car’s make, model, paint color, and license plate number, as well as the driver’s appearance, will help the police in their investigation.
Gather Evidence. Hit & run cases may not involve much evidence due to the fact that the at-fault driver fled the scene. Therefore, it is essential to gather and document any evidence that will help support your injury claim. Relevant evidence includes information about third-party witnesses, police reports, surveillance video, and letters from your insurance company.
Should I Chase the Hit-and-Run Driver?
While your first instinct may be to follow a hit & run driver, it is also risky as doing so is potentially dangerous. Chasing after the driver might cause them to speed and ignore traffic signs. The driver may become aggravated and decide to attack you physically if given the opportunity. Therefore, you should only follow a fleeing driver if it is safe to do so and only to the extent that will allow you to ascertain important details about the vehicle.
Steps to Take in Car Versus Car Situations
If you were driving a motor vehicle at the time of a hit & run accident, your injuries might be covered by your automobile insurance. Louisiana insurance policies which include UM/UIM coverage for bodily injury are required to cover losses resulting from “another vehicle whose identity is unknown or who is uninsured or underinsured.” La. R.S. § 22:1295(1)(f).
Steps to Take as an Injured Pedestrian
If you were a pedestrian when the hit & run driver struck you, you might be entitled to recover UM benefits. However, you should read your policy carefully. Many car insurance policies will extend coverage to injuries you sustain from being hit by a car as a pedestrian. However, the insurance company only does so voluntarily.
Hire an Experienced New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
Injured victims bear the burden of proving that a hit & run driver caused their injuries. Thus, whether a hit & run accident injured you while you were driving or as a pedestrian, your next step should be consulting the professional legal advice of a qualified car accident lawyer in New Orleans. At The Womac Law Firm, we can help you file a UM claim with your insurance carrier and advise you during the adjuster’s investigation, making sure the facts supporting your claim are well-established.
Call The Womac Law Firm at (504) 470-3935 or contact us online to schedule a free initial case evaluation today!