There are very few things that can be more frustrating than walking out to your car and noticing it was struck by another vehicle that is nowhere to be found. This is often referred to as “leaving the scene of the accident” or a “hit-and-run”. Perpetrators who are found to be guilty of this crime often face harsh penalties and possible jail time, depending on the circumstances at hand.
While finding the perpetrator may seem difficult and daunting, this should not be your main area of concern. There are certain steps you need to take after experiencing a hit and run accident, which includes consulting with a dependable lawyer to help you pursue the correct amount of financial compensation you may legally deserve.
At the law office of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers our experienced lawyers have what it takes to thoroughly investigate a hit and run case and help you hold negligent parties accountable for damages sustained. We provide free, initial consultations for accident victims in the Stuart area (by appointment only) so you can learn whether you are eligible for financial compensation. There is no obligation to hire our firm for legal representation and your personal information is kept completely private.
Read on to learn more about what you should do after realizing your car was involved in a hit and run crash. Avoiding some of these steps could cost you significant amounts of compensation, which is why it is important to speak with a licensed lawyer before settling your claim with the insurance companies.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Crash
According to Florida Statutes 316.061-316.063, a driver can leave the scene of an accident that resulted in property damages, only if they stop and provide their contact information. If the owner of the damaged vehicle is not present, the driver must leave his or her contact information attached to the damaged vehicle, including their name, phone number, address, and vehicle registration information.
Once you realize your car was struck by another vehicle, you may feel angry or upset about the situation and may not know where to turn. However, it is important to remain calm and avoid making assumptions about who or what caused the damage. Instead, take these steps to help protect your rights and maintain the full value of your damages claim:
- Check for injuries – Even though you may not have been inside your vehicle at the time of the crash, it is always a good idea to check the area for other injured victims. They may need your help to contact medical assistance and you are required by law to help others in a time of distress after an accident has occurred, regardless of who caused the accident.
- Take photos – Taking photos of the accident scene is always a good idea. Be sure to focus in on all damages to your vehicle and any other clues that may help prove the cause for the crash. For example, sometimes paint from the other vehicle, broken glass, or skid marks can help determine fault for a crash.
- Call the police – While it is always a good idea to report a car accident to the police, it is especially critical in cases involving a hit and run crash. The sooner you report the accident to the local authorities, the faster they may be able to find the guilty party. If you fail to report the incident to the police, insurers may try to deny your claim by saying that the damage was caused by something other than what you claim. Keep in mind that some insurance policies may have a stipulation that waives your coverage if you fail to report the accident to the proper authorities.
- Collect witness information – Since you probably have no idea how the hit and run occurred, you may want to ask anyone in the area if they saw the events leading up to the crash. Having a witness provide a statement or testify on your behalf, could make a significant difference in the outcome of your damages claim.
- Contact an attorney – Whether you or a loved one was the victim of a hit and run crash, speaking to a licensed car accident attorney may be critical to pursue the fair amount of compensation you may need for a full recovery of the costs associated with your vehicle damage. Your attorney can help you explore your legal options and negotiate with insurers on your behalf so that you can seek the financial help you may legally deserve.
The Importance of Uninsured Motorists Insurance
Even though Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UMI) coverage is not required in the state of Florida, we recommend purchasing as much of this type of coverage as you can reasonably afford. UMI kicks in when damages exceed your regular Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or any other auto insurance coverages you may have.
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident, it is considered as an uninsured motorist claim. This means your UMI coverage will cover the remaining balance of your damages, up to the policy limits, depending on how much coverage you purchased.
While some auto insurance policies include this type of coverage, it is usually optional and may result in higher monthly payments, but it can be worth the extra costs, especially if you are the victim of a hit and run crash. Your lawyer can go over the details of your insurance policy and help determine the types of coverage you may be entitled to.
Let a Licensed Lawyer Review Your Claim for Free
If you are unsure about hiring a lawyer to represent your claim, you may want to consider discussing your legal options in a no-cost, initial evaluation at the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers. You will not be required to move forward with our firm if you choose not to and your information is kept completely confidential.
The reputable attorneys at the law office of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers have handled more than 6,000 cases combined, which includes cases involving hit and run crashes. Altogether, our firm has amassed more than 600-plus five-star reviews that illustrate how well we treat our clients when they need legal help.
If you have a valid claim, we could help you seek the financial compensation you may need to repair or replace your vehicle. If you already paid for your vehicle damages out-of-pocket, we may be able to help you recover these costs. Allow our firm to help you explore your legal options so you can pursue the full and fair amount of compensation you may need to get back on the road again.
Call Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today at (561) 800-8000 or chat with one of our online representatives.