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Should I Get a Lawyer for a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident is devastating. It leaves you with many pressing questions:

  • How will I pay my medical and car repair bills? 
  • Will law enforcement catch the driver? 
  • What can I do to take care of my family while I can’t work? 

When people make poor decisions behind the wheel, their decisions harm others. Some of these poor decisions include:

There are many reasons people might leave the scene of an accident. Regardless of the reason, it is irresponsible, insensitive and illegal.

AAA Foundation research brief on hit-and-run crashes showed a 7.2 percent increase in hit-and-run crash fatalities from 2009 to 2016. Victims of hit-and-run collisions involve other drivers and pedestrians alike. 

These accidents can happen fast and leave you in a desperate situation. 

If you have been affected by a hit-and-run accident, you need to know how to get the necessary compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and car repairs. Keep reading to learn more about hit-and-crashes and to answer the question, “Should I get a lawyer for a hit-and-run accident?”

What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?

A hit-and-run accident is when the at-fault driver hits another vehicle or person and does not stop to:

  • See if others involved are okay
  • Contact law enforcement
  • Exchange information 

The two essential parts to every hit-and-run accident are: the accident resulted in property damage, injury or death and the at-fault driver didn’t contact law enforcement. Read our guide to the steps you should take after an accident here.

An at-fault driver in a hit-and-run accident tries to run away from their responsibility to those they have harmed. These accidents can happen to you while driving, crossing the street or to your car when parked.

Hit-and-run accidents are a serious offense. In Missouri, they are considered a class A misdemeanor, at minimum. These crashes can become a class D felony if the collision results in another individual’s death. Punishments can include but are not limited to: fines, license suspension and jail time.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Hit-and-Run? What If They Leave a Note?

Leaving a note is a grey area for hit-and-run accidents and will depend on your resident state. Many hit-and-run accidents involve parked cars. Since the offender may not know if you will be away from your vehicle for a few hours or a few days, an initial meeting may not be feasible. If someone hits your car while it’s parked, it may not be considered a hit-and-run if:

  • The crash resulted in property damage only
  • The driver left their information (name, phone number, address, license plate number) on a conspicuous part of your car
  • They contacted law enforcement to report the collision

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Hit-and-Run? Breaking Down Your Situation.

It is best practice to contact a personal injury lawyer if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. They can assess your situation and give you their advice on the best way to proceed. 

If law enforcement catches the driver, a personal injury lawyer can represent you in a civil trial to get maximum compensation to cover damages for medical bills, property damage and lost wages. Hit-and-run compensation amounts vary by circumstance.

In Missouri, you must carry uninsured motorist coverage as part of your automobile coverage. If the hit-and-run driver is not located, you can make a claim to your uninsured motorist coverage for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. It does not cover your property damage. This protection applies even if you are not in your car when you are injured, such as if you were struck as a pedestrian crossing the street. This can also apply if the hit-and-run motorist causes the accident without physical contact with your vehicle. For example, if a motorist runs a red light and you swerve to miss them hitting a light pole, and the driver doesn’t stop, you can still make a claim to your uninsured motorist coverage even though there wasn’t contact with the negligent vehicle. This is called a “phantom vehicle” incident.                  

Eng & Woods Can Help

If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run or other type of car accident, contact the team at Eng and Woods Attorneys at Law. The lawyers at Eng & Woods represent clients with hit-and-run, uninsured motorist and phantom vehicle cases daily and can ensure you are getting fair compensation from your insurance company.

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    903 E. Ash Street
    Columbia, Missouri 65201
    Phone: 573-874-4190
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