What is the Process for Dealing with a Hit and Run Case?

Wrecked car along the side of the road following a hit and run.

Did you know that Pennsylvania stiffened penalties for hit and run drivers in September of 2012? For victims and their loved ones that may be seeking justice, this is great news. Of course, locating the guilty party in a hit and run traffic collision is not always an easy feat.

Additionally, just because a hit and run driver is facing criminal charges—as we’ve talked about in the past related to drunk drivers injuring innocent victims—it does not mean you will automatically receive compensation for your lost wages, out-of-pocket medical expenses, or pain and suffering. You will need to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney to determine your options for pursuing civil action against the hit and run driver.

The to-do actions in today’s post represent the typical process for hit and run cases. However, you should know that these do not represent a step-by-step ordered list. Every car accident case is unique, and if you have been injured in a traffic collision, getting medical treatment as soon as possible is your top priority. Seeking assistance from authorities like law enforcement, insurance companies, and personal injury lawyers is also key to your recovery from a hit and run car accident.

Get Medical Treatment for Your Injuries

While it’s true that you may be transported from the scene of a hit and run in an ambulance for emergency treatment of severe injuries, it’s also possible that you may not feel you’ve been significantly hurt. Refusing medical treatment at the scene is your right, but you should still seek a medical exam from a doctor you trust as soon as possible. So-called “invisible injuries”—concussions and back or neck injuries that can worsen with time—are common in even minor traffic collisions.

Additionally, you should visit your doctor for the purposes of documentation. Telling your doctor that you were in a car, bike, or pedestrian accident will result in notes being made in your medical file that can potentially help your hit and run case later.

Take Detailed Notes and Photos at the Accident Scene

As with all traffic collisions, the process for recovering from a hit and run essentially begins at the accident scene. If you are physically able, documenting property damage—including damage to your vehicle if you were also driving at the time—is critical.

Take photos with a smartphone, tablet device, or camera, and be sure to note the time of day and exact location of the hit and run scene. All of these details—even though they may seem minor—can be useful evidence in locating the hit and run driver and establishing a case.

Make a Police Report

Calling police following a traffic accident does not always result in an officer responding to the scene. If you are in any way injured, though—and especially if another involved driver has fled—you absolutely need to call law enforcement to make a report.

In addition to having the police involved to locate an unknown hit and run driver, law enforcement can also often assist in obtaining any surveillance footage that may exist of the accident. Many police have body cams and vehicle dashcams today, as well, and that video footage alone may help significantly increase settlement offers from notoriously stingy insurance companies.

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Here at May, May & Zimmerman, we have been involved with many car accident lawsuits that included law enforcement video footage as central evidence, which ultimately helped the outcome of the case. We invite you to get in touch with us to learn more about previous case victories we’ve achieved as defense attorneys for innocent car accident victims.

Contact Your Auto Insurance Company

In some traffic collision situations, you may want to call your car insurance company from the scene to begin the claims process immediately. Today, many insurance companies have apps that allow you to upload damage photos, and that makes gathering and reporting on details about a just-occurred accident that much easier. No matter when you choose to get your insurance company involved, it’s critical to make sure you don’t omit this action—especially in a hit and run situation.

Even if you were injured as a pedestrian or cyclist, your auto insurance might come into play to help you pay for medical bills. That’s right—even if you weren’t driving your car at the time of the hit and run that caused your injuries.

Contacting your auto insurance carrier after any type of traffic collision or incident that involves property damage or injuries is always a good idea. Of course, you need to keep in mind that your coverage may be insufficient to pay all of your bills, and this is why you should also follow our next step.

Get in Touch with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Help

Car accidents of any type—from minor fender benders to severe highway collisions involving multiple vehicles, drivers, and even fatalities—can be confusing, painful, and emotionally exhausting experiences. When it comes to seeking compensation to cover your injuries, you shouldn’t have to go it alone.

Insurance companies will rush to settle your claim, law enforcement may be slow to help you with evidence in your case, and you may not be able to work or earn an income due to your injuries, among many other problems. In short, you need strong, capable assistance—and that’s what the best personal injury lawyers are skilled in providing after car accidents.

If you have been injured in a hit and run on Pennsylvania roadways, May, May & Zimmerman is here to help you sort through all the details of your case and recover the compensation you may be owed. Get in touch with us today for a free initial case consultation.


This blog is being published for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a basic understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By entering this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. This site should never be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

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