Our Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers Know the Numbers
According to the most recent statistics compiled by the Arizona Department of Transportation, in 2016 nearly 15,000 drivers fled the scene of an accident in the Grand Canyon State. While most of these incidents were property damage only, 2,888 hit-and-run collisions resulted in injuries, and 52 involved fatalities.
You might think there’s not a lot you can do in the event the person responsible for the accident flees the scene. However, there are several steps victims can take to improve their chances of receiving compensation.
At the Scene of the Hit-and-Run Accident
Any car collision is stressful and disorienting, but hit-and-runs add the element of outrage. You may want to chase the driver down, demanding that he or she accept responsibility. This is probably the worst thing you can do. Not only might the other driver retaliate against you — provided you can even manage to catch up with him or her — but you will lessen the chance of identifying witnesses or collecting evidence at the scene.
Instead, you should stay put, try to remain calm, and do as much of the following as you can:
- Don’t Minimize the Event.
After a hit-and-run accident, your adrenaline will be high, suppressing your pain receptors. You could be more injured than you realize. Assume that that situation is more serious than it seems and document as much as you can, including the time of the event, the extent of the damage, and anything you remember about the other driver’s vehicle. You should also check for the presence of surveillance cameras that may have recorded the accident.
Don’t rely on your memory of events. Make sure to put your observations in writing.
- Identify Possible Witnesses.
You have one powerful advantage in the event of a hit-and-run accident: moral outrage. If there are witnesses, they may be more motivated to get involved than they would have been had the other driver remained on the scene. Make sure to get their names and contact information so that you or the authorities can contact them later.
- Take Photographs.
In order to provide as complete a picture of the accident as possible — and to protect yourself against accusations of insurance fraud — you should take photos from different angles, including close-up photos of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you sustained.
- Call the Police.
In Arizona, it is a crime to flee the scene of an accident, even if the driver is not responsible. When the other motorist sustains injuries, charges range from a class 5 to a class 2 felony, with additional charges if the driver in the hit-and-run accident was intoxicated when the collision occurred.
The sooner the police are able to investigate the scene of the accident, the better chance you have of finding the person responsible and filing a claim against them through the civil court. The accident or “crash” report, which documents the accident from the point of view of the responding police officer, is the chief document your insurance company will use to make decisions about your case.
Filing a Hit-and-Run Accident Claim with Your Insurance Company
You may never learn the identity of the hit-and-run driver. Fortunately, there is still a way to receive compensation — through your policy’s uninsured motorist coverage. Although technically designed to provide compensation for injuries if the defendant has no liability insurance, you can also use uninsured motorist coverage in the case of a hit-and-run accident.
Your lawyer can bring a claim directly against the insurance company to provide compensation for the following:
- medical bills
- lost wages
- pain and suffering.
In fact, in some cases, it is easier to resolve an uninsured motorist claim than it would be to receive a comparable claim from the defendant’s insurance company. You do need to have purchased uninsured motorist coverage and to file the claim within the time limit, which is typically three years in the state of Arizona.
Seeking Compensation? Talk to a Tucson Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney
Unsure how to approach your insurance company? Worried about not being able to pay your medical bills and related expenses? The Khalidi Law Firm is ready to put our 20 years of experience to work for you. We handle every aspect of your uninsured motorist claim in order to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. If you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver, contact our Tucson hit-and-run accident attorneys at The Khalidi Law firm to find out if we can help you file a claim.