Being involved in a crash could be a frightening experience, potentially leaving an injured driver with extensive recovery time and a pile of medical bills. Because of this, many people injured in auto accidents file civil claims against at-fault drivers in order to request compensation.
However, if you were injured in a wreck with a driver who fled the scene, you may feel as though your situation is hopeless. However, consider reaching out to a lawyer to discuss what to do after a St. Petersburg hit and run accident. By working with a skilled attorney, you could understand your legal rights and decide how to best proceed.
The Steps to Take After a Motorist Flees the Scene of an Accident
After being injured in a hit-and-run collision, there are numerous—and important—steps a person should take. Of course, the most important step is to make sure that any person injured in a crash receives proper medical treatment. Typically, this would involve going to the hospital or to an urgent care clinic to make sure that there are no internal or severe injuries sustained after a crash.
Once this is done, an injured person might benefit from contacting an attorney as soon as possible. This is because experienced lawyers have investigators licensed by the State of Florida who might assist in identifying a driver who fled the scene. Often, this is done forensically by looking at damage to the vehicles involved, as well as reviewing the descriptions of vehicles given by any witnesses.
Pursuing a Claim After a Hit-and-Run
To determine how a claim should be filed, a potential claimant would need to determine if an identified driver who fled the scene has any form of auto insurance. If they did not, an injured motorist would need to identify if their own insurance policy has underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. If so, they might be able to recover monetary compensation for the damages they have sustained in an accident.
For that claim to be processed—and to have the best chance of succeeding—an injured driver needs to have a complete itemization of all their medical treatment. This is often done through the use of medical records and medical bills. Furthermore, a claimant must usually have a complete investigation done of the accident. This is because an insurance company may believe that the injured claimant simply lost control of their vehicle and was involved in a single-vehicle accident. Therefore, an investigation might be able to provide proof that a second—and negligent—driver caused a crash.
Often, an investigation involves interviews of witnesses, as well as forensic examinations of their vehicle to prove that they were hit by another motorist. A claimant would also need to provide the insurance company with documentation as to their damages going forward, how the accident affected them at their place of work, and how these damages will continue to affect them moving forward.
How Does Insurance Work if a Motorist Drives Away?
Insurance policies in the state of Florida are legally required to be delivered with uninsured motorist coverage on a person’s policy. That is a separate charge over and above standard motor vehicle insurance. The reason a person pays this additional premium on an insurance policy is for scenarios exactly like a hit-and-run. Simply put, when somebody is hit by a driver who does not have insurance, the person has prepaid for insurance for that uninsured driver who hit them.
Many times, however, insurance companies do not like paying for uninsured motorist claims and instead require additional steps that the injured party must take. For instance, in certain cases, a claimant has to prove—beyond a reasonable doubt—that they were hit by a fleeing driver.
How an Attorney Could Help After a Hit and Run Crash
Generally, an attorney could help after a hit-and-run crash by assisting an injured driver with each step of the process, as well as to provide advice on how a person should proceed under the circumstances. For example, an experienced attorney could work tirelessly to identify the fleeing driver, then determine if they had auto insurance coverage.
If the escaping driver cannot be identified, however, a lawyer could help an injured driver to file an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim against their own insurance company. If you were injured in an auto crash with a driver who fled the scene, call a lawyer to discuss with to do after a St. Petersburg hit and run accident.