There’s a noticeable rise in hit-and-run accidents throughout Wake County and the North Carolina Research Triangle. Several recent news stories underscore the need for injured victims to understand what they must do, regardless of whether they are operating a motor vehicle, cycling or walking, when a negligent driver hits them and flees the scene.
By following the suggestions outlined below, your insurance claim (or civil case) against the negligent driver – once found – will be much stronger for your hit-and-run lawyer to win fair injury damages.
- Before you even get into a situation where you need help, check your insurance policy. Make sure that you have adequate UM (Underinsured Motorist), UIM (Uninsured Motorist) and PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. These are add-ons to your policy, they are relatively inexpensive and they are essential to make sure that you are adequately protected.
- Stay calm. Start taking pictures with your phone: the driver, vehicle and license plate number if you can. Note the time, location of the accident and damage to your vehicle.
- Get names and other information from any witnesses.
- Call the police. Once their accident report has been filed, get a copy.
- Ask business owners for video footage. Ask the police if there are traffic cameras that might have recorded the accident.
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries.
- File an insurance claim.
- Contact a Raleigh auto accident lawyer with experience in representing hit-and-run victims.
If you are not seriously injured, you can do many of the above yourself. But if a family member has been badly injured in a hit-and-run, the task falls to you.
What to Do if You’re a Cyclist or Pedestrian Hit-and Run Victim
Hit-and-run accidents involving cyclists are becoming more common, simply because there are more cyclists on the road. And they are also far more serious; cyclists have much less protection than motorists or passengers in vehicles, and motorists don’t always drive with the safety of cyclists in mind. Pedestrians can also be seriously injured from hit-and-run accidents caused by thoughtless drivers.
The same safeguards for building a strong case apply. Take pictures, get witness statements, call the police as soon as you can, get as much information as possible, call your insurance company, seek medical attention, and contact a seasoned hit-and-run lawyer who understands how to effectively protect your compensation rights in cases of driver negligence.
A personal injury attorney with experience in handling cyclist hit-and-run claims will also understand why there are still some biases against cyclists (including motorcyclists). Cyclists are still in the minority, so sometimes it’s difficult for police, insurance companies and even juries to empathize with the injured victim’s situation.
What to Do if You’re a Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident in a Parking Lot
Due to much slower speeds, hit-and-run accidents in parking lots lead to less severe property damage. There may be no personal injury if your car was parked and unattended at the time. But because the accident is likely on private property, the police probably won’t be summoned. So to strengthen your insurance claim or case, you must do the following:
- Take pictures of the accident scene as well as the damage to your vehicle with your phone or camera. If you can quickly take a picture of the vehicle that hit you and its license tag, that’s a big help to the police in tracking the driver down.
- Gather as much information as possible. If there are witnesses, get as much information as you can. Record the interviews with your phone if possible.
- Call your insurance agent immediately. Your agent will tell you what to do. Follow his or her instructions carefully and completely.
- Check the area to see if there are video cameras around. Many public parking areas have cameras that monitor lots. If there are cameras, do what you can to ensure that the video is preserved.
The Value of Having a Seasoned Hit-and-Run Lawyer on Your Side
Following these “must-dos” will improve your hit-and-run lawyer’s chances of winning your case and will assist law enforcement in tracking down the negligent driver and bringing him or her to justice. Leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor if the victim is not hurt. And if you are seriously injured, the driver can be charged with a felony.
Hit-and-run damages that can be collected include:
- Full payment for all of your present and future medical bills arising from the injury.
- All of your lost income, including future income if you are disabled.
- Pain and suffering: including psychological trauma, PTSD, etc.
- Replacement or repair of all damaged property.
- Wrongful death and other survivor damages if the injury takes the life of a family member.
- If the driver was willfully negligent or acted intentionally, punitive damages that further punish the negligent defendant are possible.
Having a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Raleigh NC dramatically increases the likelihood that you will recover all rightful damages when you are victimized by a hit-and-run driver. A good hit-and-run lawyer can use this evidence to build a strong case and push for a fair settlement; hopefully avoiding a costly and stressful jury trial.
If you or a loved one has been injured – or suffered other legal damages – arising from a hit-and-run accident, call a hit-and-run lawyer today. Wilson, Reives & Silverman, PLLC, offers an initial consultation free of charge for personal injury cases. And if we take the case, you pay no out-of-pocket expenses unless we win your case or insurance claim.
Over the years, Wilson, Reives & Silverman has built a strong reputation for delivering trusted, effective legal counsel to all Wake County injury victims so you can focus on recovery and taking care of your family.