Steps To Take if You’re Injured in a Hit-and-Run in Pennsylvania

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Any type of car accident can be frustrating and present its challenges. When the other driver has failed to stop at the scene, it can certainly make your life harder. Even if you cannot find the driver who harmed you, you may still be entitled to compensation. It is always possible to file an uninsured motorist claim, but there are steps that you need to take first. One of those steps is contacting an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney like Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers.

Why Drivers Do Not Stop at the Scene of an Accident

Pennsylvania law requires drivers to stop at the scene of practically every car accident. While it is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident, some drivers may not stop for reasons including:

  • There is a warrant for their arrest.
  • They do not have car insurance.
  • They are undocumented and are afraid of the potential consequences.
  • They panic and freeze out of fear.
  • They do not realize they have been in an accident.
  • They are afraid of being held liable for the crash or their insurance rates going up.

Regardless of the reason why the driver failed to stop, the fact that you do not know their identity will make your car accident claim more complex.

Immediate Actions To Take After Your Accident

The most important thing you need is proof that you were involved in an accident with a driver who failed to stop. Immediately call law enforcement from the scene of the accident. Police officers will come to the scene and write an accident report that states you were in a hit-and-run crash. You can use this report when you file a car accident claim.

You should also obtain contact information for witnesses who both saw the accident and that the other driver did not stop. Even in a hit-and-run, you must prove fault before you can receive compensation.

It is important to obtain medical help so a doctor can diagnose and treat your injuries.

How To Protect Your Rights After a Hit-and-Run Accident

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you still have a legal right to compensation when the other driver was to blame for the crash, even if you don’t have their insurance information. Here, your legal rights come from your policy with your own insurance company.

The best way to protect your legal rights is to contact an experienced car accident attorney right after the crash. Your attorney is deeply familiar with the legal process, and they know the tactics that insurance companies may use to reduce or eliminate your right to compensation. The more that you try to do on your own, the more you may be at risk.

Do Not Trust Your Own Insurance Company

Your insurance company can become your adversary when you are seeking their money. They step into the shoes of the other driver because you are filing a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage. Regardless of how much money you have paid the insurance company or for how long, the insurance company will look at you as an expense instead of someone who needs to be fully compensated. Your own insurance company may try to lay traps for you to make your case harder.

Remember that you must still prove fault in a hit-and-run car accident to receive full financial compensation. If you have full tort coverage in Pennsylvania, you would be paid your full non-economic damages. Your attorney would work to gather evidence that shows that the responsible driver was negligent, even if they are not able to be located.

What Happens if the Other Driver Is Found?

When you hire an attorney, they will take their steps to try to locate the responsible driver. They may interview witnesses in the area who may have seen part of the license plate or other identifying information that could help find the motorist. The benefit of locating the driver is that there are two insurance policies available now to pay for your damages.

If and when the driver is found and you can prove that they were to blame, their car insurance policy would become the primary source of your compensation. If your insurance company has already paid out damages, they would be reimbursed by the other insurance provider. You could then file a claim against your insurance policy if the other driver did not have enough coverage to pay for your damages.

Law enforcement is already going to be conducting their investigation, but your attorney has more incentive to track down the responsible driver for you.

Contact a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Today

The attorneys at Gibbons & Crichton provide our clients with personalized and attentive service and handle your case with both diligence and sensitivity. You must call an attorney now to get the legal help that you need. You can schedule a free initial consultation with our firm by sending us a message through our website or by calling us today at 215-274-0173.

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