If you were involved in an auto accident caused by the fault of another driver, you deserve to be compensated for any damages. However, some irresponsible drivers choose to flee from the scene, constituting a hit and run. If you were involved in a hit and run, talk to one of our Kentucky hit and run accident attorneys to see how you could be compensated and bring the at-fault driver to justice.
According to Kentucky state law, a driver’s responsibilities extend to when accidents occur, meaning there are duties and responsibilities a driver must fulfill in the case of an accident. When these duties are ignored and the driver rides off or goes away, that will be a case of a hit and run. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands what constitutes a hit and run, and it helps to briefly go over what a driver must do in an accident.
Driver Duties After a Car Crash
A driver’s duties after a crash depend mainly on the type of damages it caused.
Property Damage Only
If the accident only involves damage to property, including others’ cars, the driver at fault must stop at the scene and give his name, address, insurance details, and vehicle registration number to the victims. If the estimated cost of the damages is $1,000 or greater, local enforcement must be called onto the scene with both drivers present.
Additionally, if the cost of the accident exceeds $1,000 the driver has to inform the Department of Transportation within ten days after the accident.
Accidents with Unattended Property
If the driver gets into an accident with unattended property, it is his responsibility to find and talk to the owner of that property. For instance, if a driver hits a mailbox, he could go to the respective home that the mailbox is for. In instances where the owner can’t be found, the driver can leave his name and other relevant info on a note at the site.
Accidents Involving Injuries or Death
In the unfortunate case that an accident causes injuries or even death, the driver must contact law enforcement at once. He must also give his name, address, insurance details, and vehicle registration number to both the injured party and the police officer.
Accidents where injuries and death were involved will have to be reported to the Department of Transportation within ten days after the accident occured.
Generally speaking, when a driver causes an accident, he is responsible for identifying himself to the victims and providing a way that the victims could be reimbursed, such as by giving them his insurance information. If you were in an accident and the driver failed to do this, you could pursue a hit and run case.
Of course, this presents some challenges since the driver at-fault already ran away, but there are still some steps you could take that might be able to bring the driver to justice or to at least let yourself be compensated for the damages.
What to Do After A Hit-and-Run
1. Do Write Down a Vehicle Description & Plate Number
If you are able to, and it is safe to do so, try to get a good look at the vehicle and write down as many details as you can. The best would be if you could take note of the plate number because that will yield the most information about the owner and registration of the car.
If you aren’t able to take down the plate number, try to take note of the brand, model, and colour of the car. You can also take note of any characteristic details that can single out this car from all other similar cars such as stickers, broken lights, or dented bumpers. All this info will help police officers search and identify this car later on.
2. Do Report the Crash to the Police
Once you are involved in a hit and run, you must call the police immediately. This serves two purposes.
First, your call to report a hit and run can serve as proof that there was indeed a hit and run incident that took place. Many insurance companies will ask for proof that the damages to your vehicle were the result of a hit and run and not out of your own doing. A police report and a police visiting the site of the incident serves as proof that you were the victim of a hit and run.
Second, calling the police to report the hit and run will put into motion the investigation that will try to apprehend the driver at fault. Law enforcement will do this by going to the scene and searching for any available leads such as fragments of the other car that may have broken off or any paint that was left from scrapes. They will also take official photos of the site which you could use for your accident claim later on.
When you call the police, be sure to tell them everything that you know. The sooner you can give them the relevant information, the earlier they can work on your case, increasing the likelihood that the other driver will be caught.
3. Do Tend to Your Injuries
Do not ignore your injuries even if they only seem superficial. Go to see a doctor to make sure that you don’t have any other more serious injuries such as fractures, or dislocations. Immediate medical attention can improve your risks for a full recovery.
4. Do Call Your Insurance Provider
Once you have called the police and tended to your injuries, you can then make a phone call to your insurance provider. You will only have to tell them the details of the accident and they will appoint an insurance adjuster to check your case.
This should be simple enough, but there are also things you have to keep in mind that you must not do, because it can affect both the outcome of your case (if you take it to court) as well as the payout your insurance provider will give you.
What NOT to Do After a Hit-and-Run
1. Do NOT Admit Fault
The first thing to keep in mind is not to admit fault. Telling anyone that you were at fault (even if you weren’t) can be misconstrued by others and used against you. This can result in you losing your hit and run case as well as receiving less reimbursement from your insurance company.
2. Do NOT Fabricate a Story
Never give out false information and only stick to the truth. You might think that exaggerating the details of your accident could get everyone to be in your favor, but if they discover that you lied, your case will lose credibility at best and could be charged for perjury at worst.
As the victim of a hit and run, the truth is already on your side so there really is no need to lie. It will only be the job of your hit and run accident attorney to advocate for your rights and present the truth to the court to show that you are indeed the victim and have the right to be reimbursed for the damages caused to you.
3. Do NOT Give Unnecessary Information
Similar to admitting fault, the information that you give out may be used against you later on. So make sure you talk to your car accident lawyer first to know what you can and cannot say. Your car accident attorney will also advise you regarding the common tactics used against motor vehicle accident victims in an effort to escape their obligations.
4. Do NOT Say You Have No Injuries Until You are Sure
There are many accident injuries you can incur when involved in a collision, and in some cases, some superficial injuries may actually be hiding a more serious injury. In some cases, back injuries and traumatic brain injuries may take a while before they manifest with the victim feeling fine a few weeks before.
This is why you should always seek medical attention, even if you feel fine, because you might actually have a more severe injury that you’re just not aware of.
Additionally, do not preemptively tell anyone that you have no injuries or only non-serious injuries, because if it is later discovered that you have more serious injuries, it might be harder for you to make an insurance claim to reimburse your medical expenses.
5. Do NOT Accept a Settlement Offer Right Away
Once you’ve told your insurance provider that you were in an accident, they will evaluate your case and eventually give you a personal injury settlement offer. It is important that you do NOT accept this offer right away, especially without consulting your personal injury attorney.
Insurance companies often work by undervaluing the damages that a person acquires in an accident and filing for a car accident claim. They do this by taking advantage of the lapses in a person’s legal knowledge such that a person doesn’t get paid for things that he can actually get paid, which has happened in numerous personal injury cases already.
Our Paducah hit and run accident attorneys are knowledgeable on the personal injury law and know that a victim isn’t only legally entitled to be paid for physical damages and medical bills. As a victim, you are actually also entitled to be paid for emotional distress, pain and suffering, lost wages, and wrongful death.
That’s why you should always consult with an auto accident attorney to make the most out of your injury claim and make sure you’re well provided for as you recover.
6. Do NOT Delay in Hiring Hit and Run Accident Attorney
When you are involved in an automobile accident, it is important that you get in touch with Paducah hit and run accident attorneys right away because time is of the essence. Along with the evidence losing value over time, the driver in charge and your insurance provider will also be working to devalue your personal injury claim.
Consult with Our Paducah, KY Hit and Run Accident Attorneys Today!
Our Paducah hit and run accident lawyers at Farmer & Wright, PLLC are committed to protecting your rights as a victim. We believe that a victim should not have to have any other responsibility but to recover. Unfortunately, this is not what happens in real life, and a victim still has legal responsibilities to take of before, while, and even after they recover.
Don’t let the legal aspect of accidents get in the way of your recovery, talk to us and let our Kentucky personal injury law firm handle the legal aspect of things so you can focus on what matters most.