Car accident victims in Missouri can hold the responsible driver liable for their resulting damage or losses. In situations in which the driver flees the accident scene, otherwise known as a hit-and-run, it can be much more difficult to pursue that much-needed compensation.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
People involved in car accidents must stop their motor vehicles and to offer help to anyone else involved. These drivers should also exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers. Unfortunately, not everyone stops after accidents. Sometimes people continue to drive away, committing a hit-and-run, which is a serious motor vehicle offense.
Missouri Statute 577.060.1 states that a person commits the crime of leaving a motor vehicle accident when he or she leaves the scene of an accident, knowing that an injury has been caused to a person or damage to property occurred.
Drivers convicted of hit-and-run can face serious consequences including up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In accidents in which another party was injured, substantial property damage of greater than $1,000 occurred, or a repeat offense has occurred, the at-fault driver can face felony charges for fleeing the scene of the accident.
How to Respond After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Hit-and-run accidents are overwhelming and can leave injured victims uncertain about how to proceed. Some of the important steps you should follow after these tragic accidents include:
- If you received injuries in the accident, you should promptly call emergency workers. It is crucial to contact law enforcement so a report of the accident can be made. Indeed some uninsured motorist policies require that a police report be made. The police can begin investigating how the accident occurred and attempt to locate the at-fault driver. Law enforcement officers are known to use eyewitness information, broken vehicle parts, and camera footage to determine the identity of hit-and-run drivers.
- Take photographs of the accident scene to document the damage caused and the surrounding conditions, as well as any physically visible injuries you have suffered.
- Write down details of the accident right away. This can later help to create a narrative of the events leading up to the accident and can even help to locate the other driver.
- Realize that not all hit-and-run drivers are located. If you cannot find the driver who hit you, you will likely be required to pursue damages from your own insurance company. Under Missouri law, drivers must carry Uninsured Motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. While this coverage helps uninsured drivers, it also provides compensation in hit-and-run accidents. It is a mistake to assume your insurance carrier will give you fair compensation merely because you are insured. Insurance companies routinely defend, delay, and deny valid claims, which is why it is crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you are injured as the result of another person’s negligence while driving, do not hesitate to contact attorney Aaron House today at 816-875-4260 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Tags: auto accident