Were you the victim of a hit and run car accident? Did you suffer injuries and need medical treatment? If so, DeMayo Law Offices, Your North Carolina Law Firm™, will help you pursue a legal case and recover from the trauma you endured. Our team has the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate car crashes and determine who’s at fault. If the driver fled after colliding with your vehicle, we’d work hard to track them down. You deserve the opportunity to hold them responsible and recover financial compensation.
You shouldn’t take on the burden of someone else’s mistake. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Our Charlotte hit and run accident lawyers are familiar with state laws and the legal options available when the at-fault driver can’t be found. When you hire us, we’ll begin working on your case immediately. We’ll provide the support and guidance you need during this devastating period. Call us at (704) 333-1000 to schedule a free consultation so that you can learn more about us and your legal options.
How to Investigate the Accident Scene
If you get hurt in a hit and run car accident, there’s crucial information you can find at the scene. Evidence that proves someone else caused the crash and the injuries you suffered could help your case.
The first step you should take is to call 911 and wait for law enforcement to arrive. They will perform an investigation to determine how the accident occurred and write their findings in a crash report.
You can request a copy when it becomes available to find out the necessary details, such as:
Date, time, and address of the accident
Names and phone numbers of people who witnessed the crash
Contact information for other drivers and passengers involved
Type and location of damage to your vehicle
Description of events leading up to the accident
Determination of fault
Even if you don’t know who hit you, you can provide the details on the crash report to your auto insurance company when you file a claim. The more information you submit, the better. Even if the officer decides a hit and run driver caused the accident, the insurance company might not agree. They’ll perform their own investigation into what happened and how you sustained your injuries.
Witnesses Can Strengthen Your Case
Insurance companies prefer to save money. They don’t want to pay out claims to accident victims. If they find the opportunity to deny a claim or provide a low settlement offer, they’ll take it. It’s up to you and your Charlotte hit and run accident lawyer to submit substantial evidence so that can’t happen.
If you’re able to get up and walk around the crash scene, talk to anyone in the vicinity. Ask if they saw what happened and can provide details about the driver and their car. Every piece of information you can get will help.
Before you leave, write down witness names and phone numbers. They can provide a statement to the insurance company that supports your description of events. If more than one person gives similar details, it might prevent the insurance company from denying your claim.
Don’t Wait to See a Doctor
One of the most important steps after getting hurt in a car accident is to seek medical care. If you have a gap in treatment, that’s another legitimate reason the insurance company could use to deny your claim. Whether you get transported by an ambulance or drive yourself, you should go to the hospital immediately after leaving the crash site. Don’t wait days or weeks to see someone.
The ER physician will perform a complete evaluation of your injuries to determine a diagnosis. They might have to stitch up lacerations or perform a surgical procedure. When they’re done, they might instruct you to follow up with them or another doctor. If they inform you that your injury requires ongoing physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, or another type of treatment, you must follow their recommendations.
Every medical provider you see will keep track of your progress and decide when you no longer need to follow up. That will happen when you make a full recovery or reach maximum medical improvement. MMI means additional medical intervention won’t improve a person’s condition any further.
Hold the Other Driver Accountable for Their Actions
If the police track down the driver responsible for your accident, you have two legal options: filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit. If you want to file an insurance claim, you can file with their auto insurance company. Everyone who owns or operates a motor vehicle must purchase auto insurance with minimum limits of liability. Those limits cover an injured victim’s losses from an accident.
With a liability claim, there are certain damages you can attempt to get compensation for. Economic damages include expenses, while non-economic damages refer to physical and emotional suffering. Examples of damages include:
Past and future medical bills
Lost future earnings
Cost of car repairs or total replacement
Pain and suffering
Emotional or mental anguish
Loss of quality of life
If you choose to file a lawsuit against the driver, you must comply with the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations is three years. That means you have three years from the accident date to sue the other driver. It’s a strict deadline, and more often than not, judges aren’t flexible. If you try to file suit after three years pass, they’ll likely dismiss your case.
When you’re preparing a legal action in the civil court system, you need to base your case on a legal theory. The most common legal theory is negligence. It refers to one party’s failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care to prevent harm to another party. To prove negligence, you must establish that the following five elements existed:
Duty: The at-fault motorist owed a duty of care to prevent you from harm;
Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
Cause in fact: You wouldn’t have gotten hurt if it wasn’t for their actions or inaction;
Proximate cause: Your injury was the direct result of their breach of duty; and
Damages: You suffered damages from the accident.
While economic and non-economic damages are both available in insurance claims and lawsuits, there’s a third type that’s only available in lawsuits. Punitive damages punish the negligent party for their egregious actions and deter them and others from similar misconduct in the future. It’s a rare financial award juries only provide to accident victims under the circumstances listed below:
The defendant committed one of the following aggravating factors that led to the victim’s injuries:
Willful or wanton conduct.
You Have Options If the At-Fault Driver Can’t Be Found
Unfortunately, law enforcement sometimes has a tough time solving hit and run cases. If they can’t find the driver who caused your injuries, you can seek compensation from your auto insurance company. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provides compensation to the accident victim in the following situations:
The at-fault driver doesn’t have liability insurance;
The at-fault driver’s liability limits aren’t high enough; or
The car crash was the result of a hit and run driver.
In your situation, you’re unable to file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance, so that you could file a UM claim with your auto insurance company. Depending on the limits you chose for your policy, you might get fair compensation for the following damages:
Past and future medical bills
Lost future earnings
Cost of car repairs or total replacement
Pain and suffering
Optional coverage you could use to reimburse your medical damages is known as MedPay (medical payments). Unlike liability and UM insurance, it doesn’t cover lost wages, pain and suffering, and other types of damages. It only covers necessary medical treatment.
If you included it in your policy, you could use it up to the limit you purchased. Most people opt for coverage between $500 and $5,000. Unfortunately, it’s usually insufficient to compensate for all medical costs, but it helps.
In some situations, health insurance companies refuse to cover medical bills for car accident victims until they use all their MedPay coverage. All you have to do is provide your doctors with the details, and they will submit billing statements directly to your auto insurance company for payment.
Speak to a Charlotte Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
DeMayo Law Offices, Your North Carolina Law Firm™, has an experienced legal team to work on your case and fight for the maximum compensation available. We’ll create a plan that meets your goals and resolves the matter efficiently. We want to help you recover from this traumatic experience and move forward with your life as soon as possible. When you hire our Charlotte car accident attorneys, we’ll provide dependable legal services, guidance, and support.
If you sustained injuries in a hit and run car accident, call us at (704) 333-1000 to learn about your legal options.
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