A hit-and-run accident happens when a driver causes a crash and immediately leaves the accident scene. In most instances, the at-fault driver speeds off so fast that an accident victim cannot obtain their license tag number.
Moreover, an accident victim has no way of getting the responsible driver’s contact information or insurance information, if any, when they abruptly leave the accident scene. Consequently, the accident victim may need to explore alternative means of insurance coverage in those circumstances.
If you suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident that a negligent phantom driver caused, you might have several legal options. Moreover, there are specific steps you should always take as quickly as possible after a hit-and-run accident, including reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company. It is wise to have your attorney handle all reports to your insurer.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can go over all of your options with you in clear and easy-to-understand terms and help you embark on a successful course of action to recover the total monetary compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
What Are Some Common Hit and Run Accidents?
Hit-and-run accidents occur in much the same way as any other motor vehicle crash. In some instances, these accidents occur when drivers speed and violate other traffic laws, such as failing to use turn signals and failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the appropriate times.
In addition, hit and runs sometimes happen when drivers engage in road rage and other aggressive driving maneuvers. They can also occur when a driver fails to observe the road or operates their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI). Finally, some hit-and-run accidents happen when a fatigued driver negligently causes their car to hit another vehicle.
When people drive in a negligent, careless, or reckless manner, they may cause several types of accidents, including:
- Rear-end or tailgate accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to hit the car in front of theirs
- T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle
- Sideswipe collisions, where the sides of two vehicles strike one another
- Overturn accidents, are where one vehicle wholly or partially overturns in the middle of a roadway, often causing multiple collisions with other vehicles.
- Head-on crashes, where the fronts of two vehicles collide, often resulting in permanent injuries or fatalities
If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in one of these hit-and-run accidents resulting from driver negligence, you are not alone. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer in your area can explore your legal options with you and help you make an appropriate insurance claim. We can also help you set realistic expectations for your personal injury case and its monetary value.
Why Do Drivers Flee an Accident Scene?
There are several reasons why a motor vehicle operator might flee the scene of a traffic accident. The most common cause is that the driver does not have insurance coverage or they do not have adequate insurance coverage. Even though the law requires that drivers maintain auto insurance coverage on their vehicles, surprisingly, many drivers still drive while uninsured.
At other times, insured drivers might feel that they lack adequate insurance coverage for the accident that they caused. Moreover, some negligent drivers simply may not want to face the accident victim or accept the consequences for causing the accident.
If you sustained injuries in a hit-and-run collision, a knowledgeable car crash lawyer in your area can assess your situation. Your lawyer can help you explore available insurance options and take the appropriate legal action to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Possible Injuries in a hit and run Crash
The injuries that a hit-and-run crash victim suffers can be extensive and may require ongoing medical treatment. These injuries may also prevent an accident victim from working for an extended period of time, resulting in significant lost income.
The injuries that a hit-and-run crash victim suffers will depend upon the force of the collision, the speeds of the vehicles, and how the crash victim’s body moves in their car. When a part of the accident victim’s body strikes something in their vehicle, especially with a significant amount of force, the resulting injuries may be devastating and sometimes deadly.
Some of the most common injuries that hit-at-run crash victims may suffer include:
- Deep cuts and abrasions
- Soft tissue whiplash injuries
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Full or partial paralysis injuries
In some cases, the injuries that an accident victim suffers are permanent, meaning that they will not likely recover from their injuries even after a long period of time passes.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a hit-and-run crash, you should seek same-day medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. You might also need to follow up with your primary care doctor. While you focus on recovering from your car accident injuries, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can start gathering the appropriate documentation and help you handle the legal aspects of your claim.
Steps to Take Immediately Following a hit and run Car Crash
If you become involved in a hit-and-run car accident, there are specific steps you should take immediately. First, if you can recall the license tag number on the at-fault vehicle, you should write it down immediately. That information may become necessary when it comes to identifying the at-fault driver or vehicle owner. You should also write down anything you remember about the other vehicle, including its make, model, or colour.
Moreover, you should immediately call 9-1-1 and report the accident. This action will dispatch a police officer, ambulance personnel, and EMTs to the accident scene. When the police officer asks you how the accident happened, you should tell them everything you recall. In addition, you should report any physical injuries or symptoms you are experiencing to EMTs and other medical providers.
You should also speak with any witnesses who come forward at the accident scene and obtain their contact information. Those witnesses may have information regarding the at-fault vehicle and can assist in making a positive identification.
Next, you should take photographs at the accident scene, including any property damage to your vehicle or stationary objects alongside the road. If you suffered any open lacerations or bruises at the accident scene, such as from airbag deployment, you should take photographs of those injuries as well.
Moreover, you should call your insurance company from the accident scene, if possible, and report it. This will place your insurance company on notice of a potential claim.
You should also seek immediate medical treatment right after your accident—even if you are unsure about the severity of your injuries. This is because symptoms of some injuries, including traumatic head injuries and soft tissue contusions, may not appear until several days or weeks after your accident. Seeking early medical treatment helps ensure your injuries do not become worse and shows the insurance company that your injuries are serious and worthy of total monetary compensation.
Finally, you should talk with an experienced car crash lawyer in your area as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer can help you develop a plan of action for handling your case, filing an insurance claim with the appropriate insurer, and, if necessary, litigating your case to a conclusion in the civil court system.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Monetary Compensation Following a Hit and Run Accident
Many at-fault drivers flee an accident scene when they do not have insurance coverage available. In those circumstances, you may need to turn to your own insurance company for the monetary compensation you deserve. You can do this if you have uninsured motorist coverage through your insurer.
By filing a first-party insurance claim under these circumstances, your insurance company can step into the at-fault driver’s shoes and supply you with the coverage you need in your case.
Alternatively, you can turn to the Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Program for monetary compensation following your accident. The purpose of this program is to supply the necessary insurance coverage to accident victims who have no other avenues of insurance coverage available, such as victims of phantom vehicle crashes. The MVAC program provides coverage of up to $200,000 for accident victims in these circumstances.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim for uninsured motorist benefits or a claim through the MVAC program depending upon your case circumstances.
Recovering Damages for Injuries in a Hit and Run Accident
Victims of hit-and-run car accidents may recover various monetary damages. The purpose of monetary damages is to make an accident victim whole again, as much as possible. However, damages in car accident cases are not one size fits all.
Instead, the monetary damages that an accident victim recovers will depend upon various case-specific factors, including the nature and extent of their injuries, the circumstances surrounding the accident, the severity of the collision, the force of the crash, and whether or not the accident victim had to miss work time (or switch careers) after their accident. Another critical factor that influences a monetary damage award is the amount of insurance coverage available.
First, hit-and-run accident victims may pursue monetary compensation for their lost earnings. Many times after a severe car crash, the accident victim cannot return to work for an extended amount of time, and their job will not voluntarily pay them for the time they miss.
In those circumstances, an accident victim can file a claim for lost income, assuming they can provide sufficient documentation from their employer that shows the times, dates, and hours they missed as well as the total compensation they lost.
Sometimes after a serious accident, victims suffer such severe injuries that they cannot return to their previous job or career. In those situations, the accident victim can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity especially if they had to take a significant pay cut as a result of their job switch.
In addition, hit-and-run accident victims can pursue non-economic damages for their accident-related pain, inconvenience, suffering, and mental distress. They can also bring a claim for loss of the ability to use a body part, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of life enjoyment, or loss of spousal companionship.
A skilled car crash lawyer in your area can determine which of these monetary damages you can realistically pursue, given the facts and circumstances of your case. Your lawyer can also help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company or litigate your case through the court system to a successful resolution.
Speak With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
Many victims of hit-and-run car crashes are unsure of the steps they should take. One of the most critical steps is retaining an experienced and trustworthy car accident lawyer to represent you throughout your claim. Your lawyer will be by your side during every stage of the proceedings, aggressively advocating for you and pursuing the monetary compensation and damages you deserve.
Sometimes people think that their case is clear-cut and that they do not need the help of a lawyer. This is a mistake. Insurance companies are often large organizations that have vast resources at their disposal. These are for-profit companies, and if they can find a way to not give you the compensation you deserve, they will.
Your personal injury attorney in Edmonton can also assist you throughout the negotiation stage of your case and, if necessary, litigate your case through the court system. If your case needs to proceed to a civil jury trial, your lawyer can represent you aggressively and introduce favourable evidence on your behalf in court, helping you achieve the best possible result in your case.