How To Navigate a Hit and Run Lawsuit?
What to Do If You're the Victim of a Hit and Run:
Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles can be a harrowing experience. If you find yourself in this situation, here are the immediate steps you should take:
- Ensure Safety: First, make sure you and any passengers are safe. If you're able, move your vehicle to a safe location, turn on hazard lights, and put out warning triangles or cones if you have them.
- Call 911: Contact the local authorities immediately to report the hit and run. Provide as much information as possible, such as the make and model of the other vehicle, license plate number (if visible), and a description of the driver.
- Gather Evidence: If it's safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene, including your vehicle's damage and any debris. Collect witness contact information as well. In Los Angeles, there are many cameras at intersections, businesses, and residences. In most instances, you can ask neighboring businesses and residences for their footage if you are polite. Additionally, the sooner you notify the police, they can check any cameras at nearby intersections to try to catch the license plate of the hit-and-run driver.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, it's crucial to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can worsen over time.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the incident to your insurance company. They will guide you through the process of making a claim.
Who Is at Fault in a Hit and Run Accident?
In a hit-and-run accident, the person who fled the scene is typically at fault. Regardless of the circumstances that led to the accident, leaving the scene without exchanging information or reporting the incident is a violation of the law. However, determining fault may still require a thorough investigation, especially if there were contributing factors or multiple vehicles involved.
Hit and Run Lawsuit Settlements
Hit-and-run lawsuits often result in settlements. In these cases, the injured party (plaintiff) and their legal representation negotiate with their insurance company, the at-fault party's insurance (if found), or a third party (sometimes the car owner), depending on the circumstances. The goal is to secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred due to the hit-and-run accident. Settlement amounts can vary widely based on the severity of injuries and the strength of the evidence.
Who Pays for Property Damage and Injuries After a Hit and Run Accident?
When the at-fault driver is not located, victims may still be eligible for compensation through their own insurance policies. Uninsured motorist coverage can help cover medical expenses and property damage caused by a hit-and-run driver. Additionally, if the hit-and-run driver is later identified, they may be held personally responsible for damages, and their insurance, if applicable, may be required to cover the costs.
Making an Insurance Claim After a Hit and Run Accident
To make an insurance claim after a hit-and-run accident, follow these steps:
- Contact Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company of the incident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the details, including the police report and any evidence you gathered at the scene.
- Cooperate with the Investigation: If the police identify the hit-and-run driver, cooperate fully with the investigation. This information can be vital in securing compensation.
- Document Your Damages: Keep records of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, vehicle repair estimates, and any other costs incurred due to the incident.
- Consult an Attorney: If you encounter difficulties with your insurance claim or need assistance negotiating a fair settlement, consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in hit-and-run cases. They can help protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. Remember, if the hit-and-run driver does not have any insurance, your only recourse may be to file an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurance carrier. Thus, an attorney can help you through that process.
In conclusion, being the victim of a hit-and-run accident can be a challenging experience, but taking the right steps can help you seek compensation for your injuries and property damage. It's essential to promptly report the incident to the authorities and your insurance company and, if necessary, seek legal representation to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
This article is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is different and it is recommended that you consult a licensed attorney in your area if you have been injured or have a potential personal injury case.