In Louisiana, the driver who causes a crash is financially responsible for the damages that result. Crash victims typically recover compensation by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Victims of hit-and-run crashes may not be able to locate the driver who fled the scene, much less determine the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This leaves many hit-and-run crash victims wondering what to do and how to seek compensation for medical bills and damage to their vehicle.
Even though fleeing the scene of a crash is illegal, it happens all the time. You could easily be the victim of a hit-and-run accident, so it is important to know what to do. Hit-and-run victims may still be able to recover compensation.
Make Sure to Purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Many drivers have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage because they do not realize they can reject this coverage in writing.
While you may have thought about dropping UM coverage to save money, it is very important to have. There are a lot of uninsured drivers on the road today. If you get into a crash with one of them and have no UM coverage, you may be limited in the amount of compensation you can recover.
If you are a hit-and-run crash victim, UM coverage helps to pay for some of your damages if the police cannot find the at-fault driver. Even if police do find the driver, you may still need to use your UM coverage. The driver may have fled the scene because he or she did not have insurance and did not want to face the consequences. Penalties could include hefty fines between $500 and $1,000, along with the suspension of his or her license.
You cannot control how other drivers operate their vehicles, and you never know when you may cross paths with a reckless driver. You should make sure you have some level of financial protection so you can get the medical treatment you need.
Try to Get a Look at the Fleeing Driver
Drivers are often angry when they see an at-fault driver fleeing the scene. However, you should resist the temptation to scream and yell at the driver. Instead, focus on getting details that can help you, such as the driver’s license plate number. You should also note the type of car (color, make and model).
If you can give police any of these helpful details, they may be able to catch the fleeing driver. Sometimes a hit-or-run driver may even have insurance to cover your damages.
If possible, try to get a good look at the driver so you can provide a description of this person to the police. Is the driver a man or woman? Did you notice any identifying features, such as hair color, hair style, clothes, race, or anything else that could help police identify the person?
Write down what you see or make a note on your smartphone. In fact, it may be possible to record a video of the fleeing car or take a picture of it.
Never Chase a Fleeing Driver
Your anger may make you want to chase down the fleeing driver so he or she cannot escape accountability for your damages. However, this is not a good idea.
Ask yourself: Why would someone flee the scene of a crash?
The driver may have fled because there is a warrant for his or her arrest, or he or she has just left the scene of a crime.
You never know what may happen if you chase down the driver. He or she might get mad and threaten or even assault you. Chasing another driver may require reckless driving, which puts you at risk of another collision. You should also consider that your car may not be safe to drive.
Call the police, as they are best equipped to handle the situation. Your priority after a crash is your safety. The next priority is filing a claim for compensation.
Look for Witnesses
While you may not have gotten a good look at the fleeing car or fleeing driver, witnesses may have. Look around to see if anyone else saw the crash. Ask them if they got the license plate number or can tell you other identifying information about the car or driver.
The crash may have been captured by a nearby security camera. Ask witnesses if they know if there are any cameras in the area. If there are local businesses close to the crash site, ask the owners if they have security cameras that may show the road outside.
Call the Police Right Away
It may be hard to believe, but the insurance company may challenge your claim that the at-fault driver fled the scene. You need an official record to prove it was a hit-and-run crash. The police report should note what happened and who is likely at fault.
Calling 9-1-1 brings first responders to the scene to begin assessing and treating your injuries, which should be your primary concern after any crash.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run Crash? Call Galloway Jefcoat for Help
Hit-and-run crash victims can greatly benefit from hiring an experienced Lafayette car accident attorney to represent them. Insurance companies are always looking for a way out of paying fair compensation to crash victims. Their advertising may say they care about your well-being, but their focus is on their bottom line.
Schedule a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney from Galloway Jefcoat today. Learn more about how we may be able to help you pursue the compensation you need. In 25 plus years, our firm has recovered millions for our clients, many of whom were injured in auto accidents.
Galloway Jefcoat. A law firm you can trust. Call (337) 984-8020.