Learn how to handle being a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
You hope you are never involved in a hit-and-run accident, but like with most things in life, there are no guarantees. Drivers in Missouri hope for the best whenever they set out on the road, but it is always a good idea to know how to handle a number of motor vehicle-related incidents well before they happen so you are prepared to respond. Learn what to do in the event another driver flees the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information.
Know the different types of hit-and-run accidents
To understand how to handle a hit-and-run accident, you have got to know what a hit-and-run accident is. Such accidents involve motor vehicles as well as property and pedestrians. What is more is you do not have to be in your car to be involved in a hit-and-run accident; someone can hit your car while you are in your home or in the grocery store and it would still be considered a hit-and-run.
Get as much information as possible
Depending on how the accident occurred, you might be able to gather necessary or important information. If at all possible, get the other vehicle’s license plate number, make, model, damage description and the direction in which it drove off after the accident. Just as in any other accident, you need to take photos of the damage your vehicle sustained, take witness statements and write down the details of where and when the accident happened. You should also contact the police to file a report.
Report the accident to your insurance company as required under your policy, but get legal advice before making statements, discussing liability or signing documents if requested from any involved insurance company. Your lawyer will communicate with all insurers on your behalf regarding the accident.
Contact a personal injury attorney
It is important to contact a lawyer who regularly handles hit-and-run accidents as soon as possible after the accident so that he or she can begin to protect your interests and take steps to collect damages from all responsible parties to compensate you for your losses.
Under the unique circumstances of a hit-and-run, your uninsured coverage may be available to pay for the damage your vehicle sustained or injuries you suffered as a result of the incident. Besides the importance of having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance plan, you will want to see to it you have bodily injury and property damage as part of your under- and uninsured motorist coverage. Bodily injury covers physical injuries while property damage takes care of damage to your vehicle.
Failing to stop after an auto accident in Missouri can result in a revoked license, jail time and fines, making it vital to do what is right after an accident, no matter how minor the damage might be. If you are ever a victim in a hit-and-run incident, consult with an attorney to find out how you can receive justice and compensation for any physical injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages and property damage you might have sustained.
The lawyers at Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer with offices in Columbia and Springfield represent the victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents across the state of Missouri.