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Pursuing Recovery After a Hit-and-Run Accident

Posted in Car Accidents on November 23, 2020

Any car accident is stressful, but the stress and confusion skyrockets when the responsible driver flees the scene without offering help or exchanging information. These types of hit-and-run accidents come with the normal physical, emotional, and financial strain of any car accident, but with the added stress of uncertainty about the responsible party. Hit-and-run accidents are also more likely to result in more severe injuries due to delays in medical attention for victims.

An experienced car accident attorney will be an important partner to relieve stress and pursue recovery after a hit-and-run accident. Contact an attorney today who can assist you in the options available after a hit-and-run. Read on to understand the steps to take after a hit-and-run accident.

What is a Hit-and-Run?

Louisiana law defines a hit-and-run as the intentional failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in or causing any accident to stop the vehicle at the accident scene and to provide their identity and render reasonable aid. More specifically, the driver is obligated to give their name, address, license number of their vehicle, and report the accident to the police. Even if the accident only resulted in property damage, the driver must comply with these requirements.

The penalty for failure to comply with these requirements depends on the extent of the damage caused by the accident. The punishment is much stricter if a victim suffers death or serious bodily injury and can include large monetary fines and significant jail time. Even if the accident only results in property damage, the at-fault driver will still face consequences. 

Data shows that there are estimated to be more than 700,000 hit-and-run accidents in the United States each year and more than 2,000 fatalities. Louisiana is one of the ten deadliest states for hit and runs with 1.1 fatalities per 100,000 residents. Hit and run accidents in Louisiana are relatively evenly spread between accidents on and off national highways. Louisiana has also been the found the leading state for hit and runs occurring during backup due to regular congestion.

Unfortunately, victims of hit-and-run accidents will struggle to secure recovery for their injuries and to see the at-fault driver appropriately punished if the driver cannot be located.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run

If you find yourself the unlucky victim of a hit-and-run accident, there are several steps you can take for your safety and to increase your chances of securing recovery for your injuries:

  • Seek immediate medical care. Your health and safety are the number one concern after a hit-and-run accident. Because the driver has fled the scene, it is up to you to reach out for medical support. A call for medical support should be the first take you step after a hit-and-run. Securing immediate medical attention will ensure an insurance company or defendant can’t later argue that you contributed to your injuries by failing to seek medical attention. Medical care is often accompanied by paperwork; keep copies of all documents related to your medical care as proof of the injuries you suffered and the costs.
  • Call the police. A police report is always important after a car accident. The report will document the scene and compile witness information. This information will be important to your lawyer as they analyze and build a case for your recovery. A police report is also critically important after a hit-and-run accident because the driver who has fled the scene has committed a criminal offense.
  • Analyze the accident scene. If your injuries allow it, take a moment to review the scene of the accident and record relevant details. Anything you see or remember about the car involved will be important, including its color, make, model, or any part of the license number. If witnesses to the accident have stopped, request that they remain on the scene until the police arrive. If they are unable to stay, record their contact information and provide it to the police.
  • Act quickly. Every state places a limit on the amount of time an individual has to pursue a claim against a defendant. In Louisiana, the time period to bring a personal injury claim against a defendant after a car accident is a very short one year. This year will pass quickly, especially because it will take time to identify the defendant (if this is even possible). If you are unable to locate the defendant, you will need to pursue the claim through your insurance provider in this same period of time.
  • Understand criminal and civil penalties. One of the complicated parts of a hit-and-run accident is that the at-fault driver is potentially subject to penalties under both criminal and civil law. The state will choose whether to pursue criminal charges if the driver is located, and these charges will not result in payment for your injuries. Any recovery for your injuries must be pursued through the civil courts.

One of the most helpful steps you can take after a hit-and-run accident is to hire an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer will navigate difficult conversations with insurance providers, analyze evidence, build your case for recovery, and prepare a comprehensive damages claim. Your lawyer will also work with you to analyze any settlement offers made by an insurance company or the defendant.

John W. Redmann, LLC is a law firm focused on empowering clients and supporting them in securing fair results through the legal process. Our firm has been assisting clients in Louisiana for more than 25 years and has a long history of identifying negligent parties and their insurers and holding them accountable. If the at-fault driver cannot be located, our attorneys are deeply experienced in pursuing a client’s insurer for the appropriate compensation.

Our lawyers don’t rest until we have done everything possible to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. If you or a loved one was injured in a hit-and-run accident in Louisiana, contact John W. Redmann, LLC today at (504) 608-4631 or at our website to schedule a free virtual consultation.