Hit-and-run accidents, which are crashes in which one or more drivers flee the scene, are far more common than most people realize. What is even more surprising is that many hit-and-run crashes involve serious or even fatal injuries. When a driver flees the scene of an accident, he or she not only breaks the law but also causes the victim to suffer even more in damages. What can you do if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, and how can you protect your rights?
Hit-and-Run Crash Facts
Hit-and-run accidents are far from uncommon. In recent years, hit-and-run statistics show an increase in recklessness and lack of concern for others which is shocking. According to AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety:
- Hit-and-run accidents accounted for almost 12 percent of all crashes in 2016, and more than five percent of fatal crashes.
- In the case of pedestrian accidents, hit-and-run is far more common and accounts for 20 percent of all fatalities. More than two-thirds of hit-and-run fatality victims are bicyclists or pedestrians.
- More than 2,000 people were killed in hit-and-run accidents in 2016, which is an increase of 60 percent since 2009.
The True Cost of Hit-and-Run
While hit-and-runs kill many people, even more people are left to suffer injuries and loss of property from these crimes. When a driver hits another person and leaves the scene, the victim has no legal recourse to hold the driver and his or her insurance company accountable. Instead, victims must turn to their own uninsured motorist coverage to pay for damages.
This can lead to problems if the victim has poor coverage for these events or if the insurance company tries to avoid payment of the claim. Insurers sometimes try to blame the victim, implying that the accident was the insured person’s fault, in order to avoid paying damages under an uninsured motorist policy. Further, many uninsured motorist policies pay only a minimum, leaving the victim to foot the bill for the rest of the costs associated with the accident.
What Should I Do If I Am The Victim of a Hit-and-Run?
The first thing you should do if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident is to seek medical attention for any injuries. Be sure you have documented the extent of your injuries so that you can present this information to your insurance company. You should also report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
Finally, you should talk to a personal injury attorney who can help you collect the amount you are owed from your insurer or the driver if he or she is identified. Barber & Associates has been helping Alaska car injury victims for many years, and we can help you with your hit-and-run crash. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can make this process easier for you and help you protect your rights and recover compensation for your injuries.