Automobile accidents are fairly common occurrences in the United States. Many are simply fender-benders, and outside of some damaged metal, no one is seriously injured. Most drivers are respectful of the law, and if they strike another vehicle, they will cooperate and exchange insurance information and take responsibility.
I Was Involved in a Hit and Run. Do I Still Have a Case?
Automobile accidents are fairly common occurrences in the United States. Many are simply fender-benders, and outside of some damaged metal, no one is seriously injured. Most drivers are respectful of the law, and if they strike another vehicle, they will cooperate, exchange insurance information, and take responsibility.
But a statistic that might startle many is that a hit-and-run accident occurs every 60 seconds in this nation.
The term hit and run refers to when a driver who causes an accident—whether crashing into another vehicle, running over a pedestrian or bicyclist, or otherwise causing property damage or injury—flees the scene to escape responsibility. It may be because they have no insurance or they just don’t want to own up to what they did. Either way, the victim is left with dealing with the consequences. Perhaps their insurance will cover their injuries and property damage, or perhaps not, depending on the coverage they purchased. Perhaps they will end up in an emergency room seeking treatment for injuries caused by the recklessness and negligence of another person.
If you are the victim of a hit and run in or around St. Louis, Missouri, contact us at The Law Office of Steve Slough. Our personal injury attorney is dedicated to seeking justice for victims of hit-and-run accidents and to obtaining the just compensation owed to the victims, whether through an insurance claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or both.
Our firm proudly serves clients throughout St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Madison County, Missouri, as well as those located in St. Clair County, Illinois.
Missouri Is an At-Fault Auto Insurance State
In Missouri, if you are struck by another driver and you suffer property damage and/or injuries, then the other driver’s insurance would be responsible for covering your losses and damages. In other words, you would normally file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. The problem in a hit-and-run, however, is that you may never know who the other driver is and whether they even have auto insurance in the first place.
Police may eventually track the person down, but in the meantime, you are left with few choices unless you purchased collision coverage, uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, or medical benefits coverage.
Collision coverage typically pays for any damage to your vehicle no matter who is at fault. Likewise, medical benefits will cover doctors’ visits, examinations, treatment, and prescriptions no matter who is at fault. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may provide a means for you to recover from your injuries and property damage.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Hit and Run
Your first instinct if another driver slams into you and then speeds away is to follow in pursuit and track the person down to hold them accountable. This is not a good idea. It can only lead to further incidents and might even result in your causing an accident while in pursuit. Your best approach, of course, is to get the license plate number from the other vehicle—but when things happen so quickly, that is not always possible.
Instead, note the color and make of the vehicle. If you had a view of the driver, jot down a description of the person, or make a recording of everything that you saw on your smartphone. If there are witnesses, get their statements about what happened and their contact information, so you can use their testimony later on in a claim or lawsuit if you ever find the identity of the driver.
You also need to contact traffic enforcement officers to come and investigate. They may be able to track down and identify the at-fault driver from the information you and/or any witnesses provide. Once they file their report, you should try to get a copy, which can also prove invaluable in any claim or legal proceeding.
You will also need to notify your insurance provider, which is required by the terms and conditions of your policy. Depending on the options you added, your insurer may cover some or all of your losses due to injuries and property damage.
You need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options going forward to recover compensation for your ordeal. Your attorney can also guide you in making an insurance claim, and can even negotiate with the insurance company to seek fair compensation.
Legal Guidance When You Need It the Most
You don’t have to go through this process alone. If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run in or around St. Louis or neighboring cities and counties, reach out to us at The Law Office of Steve Slough. When your life has been derailed, we’re here to help you put the pieces back together. We’ll pursue every option to get the compensation you deserve.
Unfortunately, car crashes happen far more frequently that anyone would like, and every day accident victims are forced to begin the long and often complicated process of addressing their injuries and seeking compensation for their expenses.
You set out on a sunny morning to go shopping or have lunch with friends, and all of a sudden, another car plows into you. Your car is damaged, and you’re jostled about and suffer injuries. It’s not your fault, but you still must deal with the property damage and your own injuries.