You might wonder who you can recover compensation from after a car crash if you don’t know who caused it. If you sustained injuries in a hit and run accident, contact DeMayo Law Offices. We’ll attempt to track down the at-fault driver, but if we can’t find them, we’ll guide you through the legal options available so you can pay for your expenses.
You won’t have to go through this traumatic experience alone. You might be facing financial problems from your expensive medical bills. If your injuries prevent you from working, you might wonder how you will support your family. Our North Carolina hit and run accident lawyers have the experience and resources to win the compensation you need and deserve.
At DeMayo Law Offices, our award-winning attorneys have represented more than 92,000 clients, and we can help you, too. To find out more about us or schedule your free consultation to discuss your case, call us today at (877) 333-1000.
What Should I Do If the Other Driver Leaves the Accident Scene?
Unfortunately, there are situations where the driver who causes an accident decides to flee. North Carolina Statute 20-166 prohibits individuals from leaving the scene of a crash before law enforcement arrives. Anyone arrested for a hit and run could face a misdemeanor or felony conviction, especially if severe injuries or fatalities occurred.
If you get hurt in a hit and run accident, try to remain calm. What you do next could impact the outcome of your case. It’s crucial that you remain where you are and attempt to collect as much evidence from the scene as possible by following these steps:
- Step 1: Call 911. It’s a legal requirement that anyone involved in a car accident that results in an injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage report it to the police.
- Step 2: Wait for an officer to arrive and perform their investigation. They will speak to you, other drivers involved, and anyone who witnessed the crash.
- Step 3: Go to the hospital. Whether law enforcement allows you to remove your vehicle so you can drive yourself or you have to take an ambulance, you should undergo a medical evaluation of your injuries.
- Step 4: Schedule follow-up appointments if necessary. If the ER physician refers you for additional treatment with other medical providers, follow their orders.
- Step 5: Get a repair estimate for the damage to your car.
- Step 6: Hire a North Carolina hit and run lawyer from DeMayo Law Offices. We’ll file an insurance claim on your behalf and try to negotiate a fair settlement.
North Carolina Car Accident Laws
When it comes to liability for an accident victim’s injuries and losses, North Carolina follows a fault system. The person who causes a car crash can generally be held responsible for the injured party’s resulting expenses. Unfortunately, you can’t pursue compensation from the at-fault driver in a hit and run case because you don’t know who it is.
In this situation, you could file a claim with your insurance company. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) is coverage that compensates accident victims when:
- The at-fault driver doesn’t carry auto insurance;
- The at-fault driver’s insurance coverage isn’t enough for all the victim’s expenses; or
- The car accident involves a hit and run driver.
Damages are the losses associated with an accident or injury. They fall under two categories: economic and non-economic. When you file a UM/UIM insurance claim, you can seek a settlement for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket costs
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Depending on the coverage on your policy, you might be able to reimburse your total damages. However, there’s a rule in North Carolina that could prevent you from collecting a settlement check. Contributory negligence prohibits accident victims from seeking damages if they share any amount of fault. In other words, if the insurance company determines you were partially to blame for the car crash, you won’t be entitled to compensation.
How to Pursue Compensation From the At-Fault Driver
If law enforcement can track down the person responsible for your accident, you have the option of filing a claim with their auto insurance company. Every motorist has a legal requirement to carry liability insurance with minimum limits for bodily injury and property damage. Injured parties can pursue a settlement up to those limits on the policy.
The following damages are available in a liability claim:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Out of pocket expenses
- Cost of car repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
Insurance adjusters have the difficult task of monetizing economic damages. Since things like physical and emotional pain don’t come with a billing statement, they will review the following factors to calculate a fair number:
- Type and seriousness of the injury
- The total value of economic damages
- Availability of sufficient evidence proving someone else caused the accident and your injuries
- Length of time it takes to recover
- If your injury caused disfigurement, impairment, or disability
- Duration you’re unable to work because of your injury
- Insurance coverage listed on the policy
- Effect of the crash on daily routine and quality of life
You also have the right to file a lawsuit against the other driver. To pursue legal action in the civil court system, there’s a strict deadline known as a statute of limitations that you must follow. The statute of limitations for car accidents in North Carolina is three years. That means you have three years from the accident date to sue. After three years pass, you’ll lose your right to compensation in this matter.
Many accident victims choose to use the legal theory of negligence as a basis for their case. An individual is negligent if they fail to use a reasonable degree of care to prevent injury to another. There are five elements you’ll need to show existed at the time of the crash to use this theory:
- Duty: The other driver owed you a duty of care;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their actions or inaction, you wouldn’t have suffered any harm;
- Proximate cause: Their breach of duty was the only cause of your injury; and
- Damages: You incurred damages.
Insurance claims only involve economic and non-economic damages; however, there’s a third type of damage in lawsuits. You can pursue punitive damages in particular instances. Instead of compensating your losses from the accident, it’s a way to penalize the at-fault party for their actions. A jury might award this type of damage if you can provide clear and convincing evidence that the other driver acted with fraud, malice, or willful conduct.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
The short answer: yes. If you’re unfamiliar with the legal process, you’ll have a hard time winning the maximum compensation. You might not understand specific state laws or the deadlines you have to follow. An experienced North Carolina hit and run accident lawyer will handle each step from beginning to end so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
The number one reason most accident victims choose not to seek legal representation is cost. They might already face financial struggles due to expensive medical bills and the inability to return to their job. They believe they’ll save money in the long run if they handle their case themselves. What they don’t realize is most personal injury law firms work on contingency.
At DeMayo Law Offices, we don’t charge upfront fees or costs to represent accident victims. We won’t take any legal fees unless we’re able to collect financial compensation. If we lose your case, you won’t have to pay us anything. Furthermore, we provide an initial consultation for free. There’s no risk in meeting with us to discuss the details of your hit and run accident.
When you hire us, we’ll file an insurance claim on your behalf and perform a complete investigation into the car crash. We have the resources to locate relevant evidence, such as:
- Crash report
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Photos from the accident scene
- Video surveillance footage
- Your medical records and bills
We don’t let insurance companies intimidate us. When it’s time to negotiate a settlement, we’ll use aggressive tactics to ensure you receive an amount you deserve. If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair number, we’ll move forward with a lawsuit. Our team never backs down from a fight and works hard to seek justice for our clients.
Call DeMayo Law Offices Today
Our North Carolina car accident lawyers are ready to represent you in your case. We provide dependable customer service, legal advice, and emotional support to our clients. We’ll help you get through this challenging ordeal and recover from your injuries.
We know you’re suffering. It seems unfair that you’re dealing with the consequences of someone else’s actions. We’ll use every resource we have to find the at-fault driver and hold them accountable for the damage they caused. We dedicate our time and attention to every detail, so we’re able to build a solid case for our clients. To schedule your free consultation and discuss your hit and run car accident, call (877) 333-1000 today.