Besides simply being the right thing to do, motorists in Louisiana involved in an accident are legally required to provide their name and license plate number and offer a reasonable amount of aid. Sadly, at-fault drivers may shirk that responsibility and flee the scene to avoid law enforcement. Here's what you need to do if you are hit by a driver who speeds off without stopping.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Hit and Run Collision
In order to protect your legal rights and ensure you can recover the compensation needed to get back on your feet, it's important to take the appropriate actions when the shock of the collision wears off. If you aren't immediately taken by ambulance to the emergency room, here are the critical steps to take:
- Note vehicle details – Write down as much about the other vehicle as you can remember, such as the make, model, and license plate.
- Contact the authorities – Call the police to investigate the accident just as you would if the other driver had followed the law and remained at the scene.
- Acquire contact information – You want to have other people who can testify to what occurred if the case needs to go to court. Talk to any pedestrians, other drivers, or even nearby businesses with video cameras who witnessed the incident and get their contact info.
- Take photos – Just like with any other type of accident, make sure to take pictures of the overall scene, any damage to your vehicle, and your own personal injuries.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible – Whether you end up calling for emergency responders to transport you to the hospital or simply take yourself there, it is absolutely critical that you begin documenting your injury and its impact on your life early. Get a full checkup to search for fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or other internal wounds that may not be readily apparent due to adrenaline released during the crash.
- Contact an attorney – After seeing a doctor, this is the most important call you will make. A skilled lawyer can help by locating the insurance policy of the at-fault driver who fled the scene and filing a personal injury lawsuit for your damages. In situations where that isn't possible, an attorney is still indispensable for protecting you in the event your own insurance provider attempts to deny the claim in bad faith.
Dealing With Insurance Following a Louisiana Hit and Run Crash
Far more drivers without any sort of insurance policy use Louisiana roads than you likely expect, which is one reason why the at-fault party may have fled the scene in the first place. Having full vehicle insurance with additional uninsured motorist coverage may save you from financial ruin.
Unfortunately, when all is said and done, your actual costs may be well over the payout cap for any uninsured coverage in your plan. You also need to keep in mind that insurance companies, like any other business, exist primarily to generate a profit rather than to specifically help you recover after an accident.
There are far-too-many instances where insurers are reluctant to pay out at all, especially in situations involving long-term physical recovery, or they may simply try to pay less than you deserve. If you don't deal with insurance carefully, an adjuster may attempt to argue your injury was caused by a previous event, or that you aren't hurt as badly as you claim.
Retaining a legal professional to deal with insurance adjusters can be a tremendous help in protecting your financial recovery. Insurers are much more likely to take your claim seriously and provide the full and fair amount you deserve when a lawyer handles communication. However, in cases of hit and runs specifically, an experienced litigation attorney is even more crucial. Your legal counsel can help guide you whether insurance refuses to pay out or the at-fault driver is eventually located. In either case, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover the full damages you are owed.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney Today If You Were Hurt in a Hit and Run
Were you or someone you love harmed during a crash where the at-fault driver fled the scene to avoid consequences? Get in touch with the Scott Vicknair law firm today to set up a consultation. Our trial-ready team is eager to hear about your case and find out how to help you move towards a financial recovery after a hit and run accident upends your life.