As a law-abiding motorist, you know that if you get involved in a collision, no matter how minor, you must remain at the scene of the crash, provide help to the injured, and collect vital insurance and contact information from other drivers. But, sometimes, the other driver may flee the scene. What happens then? How do you get compensation when the other driver makes a run for it?
Getting into a hit & run accident can be a stressful ordeal. You will have to deal with the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of getting into a car accident. You will also be burdened with the fear and uncertainty of not knowing how and where you will get compensation for your injuries for a hit-and-run accident.
Here at Ted A Greve & Associates, we are dedicated to helping hit and run accident victims in Wilmington and throughout North Carolina. A Wilmington hit-and-run accident lawyer will work to ensure you get the best possible settlement package. We boast vast experience and plenty of resources to go up against insurance companies.
Contact our Wilmington car accident lawyers at [phone] to arrange a charge and risk-free case evaluation.
In North Carolina, fleeing an accident scene is illegal and can result in jail time. Despite this, many motorists in North Carolina are involved in a hit and run accidents. While sometimes, the at-fault driver may not realize they hit another automobile. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The tragic reality is that a considerable chunk of at-fault hit and run drivers leave the scene deliberately because they are usually guilty of more than poor driving.
Here are the most common reasons why a driver would flee the scene of a hit and run accident:
- Driving while intoxicated: A drunk or intoxicated driver is likely to flee after an accident lest they are caught and charged with a DUI offense.
- Repeat offenders: When a driver is a repeat offender, they are not likely to stick around after a car crash because they want to avoid facing legal action for their past transgressions.
- They don’t have a driver’s license, insurance, or both: Lack of proper documentation or identification can cause a driver to leave after a car crash.
- Driving a stolen vehicle: The driver of a stolen vehicle will stop for nothing, not even a car accident. Since they are on the run, they are unlikely to stop after getting into an accident.
- Ferrying illegal weapons, drugs, or a combination of the two: Another reason drivers flee accident scenes is when they have contraband material like illegal firearms, drugs, and other illicit material.
- Illegal migrant: If a driver is in the United States illegally, they are likely to make a run for it after an accident to avoid deportation.
When a driver decides to run from an accident, the hit and run victim will be left with limited options regarding compensation. Typically, the at-fault driver, through their insurer, would cover the costs. But, when the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown to you, you should contact a seasoned Wilmington hit & run accident lawyer immediately.
What Should You Do If a Driver Leaves After a Car Accident?
What do you do when the other driver makes a run for it after a car accident? First things first, you need to keep your cool and check if you or any of your passengers are hurt before seeking emergency medical assistance. Next, you need to follow the steps below:
Do Not Follow the Fleeing Driver
Whatever you do, don’t pursue the driver because you are not a police officer. Furthermore, you would also be leaving the scene. Pursuing a hit-and-run driver could be dangerous, not only because you risk breaking more traffic rules but also because you risk causing another crash. While the details are still fresh, record the vehicle’s description. Make sure to note down the color, model, and license plate number of the vehicle. If possible, take pictures or videos.
Call the Police
Contact the police and record a statement. In your written account of the crash, make sure to include details like traffic conditions, locations, and directions. Along with your written account, take lots of pictures as evidence. The police will follow due process for traffic accidents.
See Your Doctor
Even if you only experience mild pain or injuries after the crash, make a point of seeing a physician. Some injuries may take days to manifest, so it’s essential to monitor your injuries. Consult your doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary.
Contact an Attorney
It is not guaranteed that the authorities will catch the at-fault driver, and in one way or another, you will have an insurance claim. If the police manage to catch the other driver, they may not even have insurance coverage. You need to call an attorney to guide you, look out for your legal interests, handle all the paperwork and insurance companies. A lawyer will especially come in handy if you are injured, and you need time to recover.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If the at-fault driver cannot be traced or has no insurance coverage, your insurance policy should cater to the damage. If possible, avoid dealing directly with the insurer lest they try to lowball you. Delegate all negotiations with your insurer to your attorney.
What Damages Can Victims Get From a Hit and Run Accident Claim in North Carolina?
North Carolina hit, and run accident victims are eligible for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages to cater to the financial and non-financial needs of the victim after the crash and punish the at-fault driver.
- Economic damages: These are quantifiable damages, including medical treatment, rehabilitation, property/vehicle damage, prescription drugs, medical assistive devices, and lost income or future wages.
- Non-Economic Damages: Victims can also get compensation for non-financial damages, which are harder to quantify, such as pain and suffering, limb loss, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive Damages: Suppose the North Carolina courts find the at-fault driver to be guilty of gross negligence. In that case, they may award non-compensatory damages meant to punish the driver and discourage them from repeating similar mistakes in the future.
How Long Do North Carolina Hit and Run Accident Victims Have to File a Claim?
North Carolina’s statute of limitations for hit and run accidents is three years after the accident date. Failure to abide by the stipulated statute of limitations may prevent you from seeking compensation.
Why Do I Need a Wilmington Hit and Run Accident Lawyer?
You need to hire a Wilmington hit and run accident lawyer since you are unfamiliar with the legal process involving a hit-and-run accident. Without a skilled lawyer in your corner, you will most likely have a hard time securing the maximum compensation you deserve. An attorney understands state laws and is aware of all the legal deadlines. Also, an attorney will handle every step of your case, including locating the at-fault driver as you focus on your recovery.
Insurance companies with their team of lawyers and adjusters will do everything in their power to paying uninsured claims. If they agree to a settlement, it is often an exploitative offer. At Ted A Greve & Associates, our Wilmington hit and run accident lawyers have extensive experience in these cases and are aware of insurers’ underhand tactics. We can counter these underhand and recover the highest and best possible settlement.
Another reason you need a hit-and-run attorney is to help file an insurance claim and carry out thorough investigations into the accident. An attorney has access to resources that will help to obtain crucial evidence like a crash report, surveillance footage, medical bills and records, and witness statements.
Contact Ted A. Greve for a Free Case Review
Following a hit and run accident in Wilmington or surrounding areas that injures you, call the experienced hit and run accident lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates. We will offer a risk and charge-free review of your hit and run case. If you are worried about attorney fees, it will help to know that we handle hit and run accidents on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay anything upfront.
Keep in mind North Carolina follows strict time limits, so it’s best to file your claim as early as possible. Call us at [phone] today to get started with your free no-obligation case evaluation.