A hit-and-run accident occurs when one of the drivers leaves the scene rather than waiting to exchange information and communicate with first responders, such as police officers. This common collision leaves a claimant unable to identify the responsible party.
If the at-fault party fled the car crash scene, you should speak with an experienced Altoona hit-and-run lawyer. An accomplished vehicle collision attorney could review your case and discuss what legal options are available to you.
Unique Aspects of Hit-and-Runs in Altoona
If you are in an accident, try to take photos of the other vehicle’s license plate as quickly as possible, if it is safe to do so. If the other driver does stop, insist on exchanging information – including driver’s license and insurance cards – and call the police if he or she refuses. You must know the identity of the other driver in order to make a claim against his or her insurance company. Do not rely on the other driver’s promise to call his or her insurance company, as leaving the scene without the other driver’s identity can be fatal to a claim.
If, however, the other driver leaves the scene without stopping, it can be more difficult to establish liability and collect information about the responsible party. Furthermore, the person who fled the scene is at risk of facing criminal charges.
Fortunately, it is not impossible to recover compensation even in these hit and run scenarios.
If a claimant has Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) coverage, it may apply to a situation in which the at-fault driver is not identifiable. The UM policies typically require that the police be notified that the accident occurred so that there could be some investigation and due diligence performed to try to learn who was responsible. It is still important to establish that the other driver did in fact exist and is at fault.
Some common fact patterns surrounding hit-and-run accidents in Altoona are rear-end collisions and situations where an oncoming car swerves into the victim’s lane. As a result, the claimant had to swerve off the road and contacts another vehicle, an embankment, or guardrail as the oncoming car continues onward.
Other times, someone pulls out in front of the claimant and as a result, he or she has to take evasive action resulting in a collision. Regardless of how the hit-and-run occurred, it is important for the injured party to contact a skilled lawyer in Altoona.
Recoverable Damages in Hit-and-Run Cases
In a hit-and-run accident, a claimant may be entitled to recover compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate him or her for the collision and all losses that resulted from it. Those compensatory damages come in two forms: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include lost wages and future lost earning capacity if the claimant is not going to be able to return to the same employment he or she had prior to the accident. Economic damages could also include medical bills that are not covered by insurance, future medical treatment, and any other out-of-pocket expenses that have been incurred.
There are also non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, embarrassment, inconvenience, scarring, and the loss of use of a body part like an arm or a leg. In a head injury case, it could be a concussion, dizziness, nausea, short-term memory loss, and cognitive impairment. An Altoona lawyer could also seek non-economic damages in an uninsured motorist claim arising from a hit-and-run.
What Should Someone Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The first step a person should take after being injured in a hit-and-run accident is to ensure the safety of everyone involved and to make sure the vehicles are off the roadway or in a setting where further injury is not going to occur. The next step is to notify the police that the accident occurred so law enforcement can conduct an investigation, determine what happened, and determine is the identities and insurance companies for all parties. People should also seek medical treatment for any suspected injuries. Lastly, victims should contact an Altoona hit-and-run attorney to begin building a claim for damages.
Contact an Altoona Hit-and-Run Attorney Today
An experienced attorney is a valuable asset when dealing with a car accident case without a defendant. When the at-fault party flees the scene of the crash, an Altoona hit-and-run lawyer could help you determine what options are available to you. Do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. Contact the office of Marcus & Mack today and get started building your claim.