In the past decade, the number of fatal hit-and-run accidents per year has increased by 60%. The 2,049 deaths caused by hit-and-run drivers in 2019 accounted for a higher percentage of traffic deaths than in any year before. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that on average, hit-and-runs occur more than once a minute. Those of us who do our best to follow the rules of the road have no way to defend ourselves against these reckless and irresponsible drivers.
Any driver may make the bad decision to leave the scene of an accident, but the environment and the identities of the driver and pedestrian may affect their decision.
Hit-and-run accidents are more likely:
- When drivers have a history of drunk driving
- Among drivers with suspended licenses
- When a pedestrian victim is male
- On roads or parts of roads with lower speed limits
- When a driver has been drinking
Being left alone after an accident can be scary. You know the other driver was at fault, but without their insurance information, who can you even talk to? And, without their testimony, who will support your claim?
Any driver, biker, or pedestrian who has been hit should know that help is available.
Can I Find the Culprit and Sue Them?
While finding the drivers behind hit-and-runs has become easier as technology has advanced, many of these cases go unsolved each year. It’s unfair to anyone harmed, but despite heavy legal deterrence, drivers continue to leave victims to suffer by the side of the road.
The sooner you can report the accident and share any information with the police, the more likely they are to find the driver. Useful evidence may include:
- Witness testimony, even on the type and color of the car or the gender of the driver
- Any on-site property damage that can be analyzed by police or accident reconstruction professionals to provide insight
- Photographs or a description of the damage done to the car that may help others identify it
- Footage from commercial or personal security cameras, dash cameras, or phones
If the driver is caught, they will face criminal penalties, but you can also file a claim with their insurance. If the driver is not caught, you may have other options.
Who Pays for Hit-and-Runs?
Even if you’re involved in a hit-and-run as a pedestrian rather than a driver, you may be able to recover compensation through your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. As the name infers, this coverage typically kicks in when the at-fault party in an accident either doesn’t have high enough limits to cover all of the damages or has not purchased any insurance. However, accidents where the at-fault party does not give you their insurance information trigger this coverage as well.
Making a Case with Your Insurer
When the other driver leaves after causing an accident, you lose an important piece of evidence: their testimony. Insurers are wary when it comes to hit-and-run claims and often refuse to help due to concerns about fraud. Though you pay them to protect your interests in case of an accident, agents often try to deny claims or underpay customers. Don’t let yourself get stuck in an insurance trap: Ask an attorney for help before agreeing to anything.
Providing an insurer with proof of the accident can go a long way toward helping you win your claim. If you can, document the accident scene before leaving:
- Take pictures of any tire skid marks or other signs of a quick stop
- Take pictures of property damage caused by the accident
- If the car was damaged such that pieces fell off, photograph them
- Write or record an account of what happened—the sooner you do it, the more details you’ll be able to remember
- Note addresses and business names so you can ask about security camera footage
Of course, you will also want to get the name and phone number of any witness. Presenting an insurance agent with a thorough and detailed account of the accident that is backed by photos from the scene can boost your credibility.
Don’t Pay for Someone Else’s Mistakes. Hire a Rhode Island Hit-and-Run Attorney to Represent You.
Car and pedestrian accidents can both cause serious injuries, and when the at-fault party flees instead of helping, the victim is left with two concerns: their health and the costs of their recovery. If you or a loved one have ended up in this situation, reach out to our firm for support. Our experienced attorneys have helped many clients receive fair compensation from a stingy insurer.
For help after a hit-and-run accident, call us at (888) 281-3100 or contact us online.
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