Hit-and-run accidents are unfortunately not as uncommon as one might think. A hit and run accident is any accident in which the driver of a vehicle causes personal injury or property damage to another and leaves the scene of the accident, injury, or damage without stopping.
Under Missouri law, an individual involved in a vehicle accident is required to provide his correct name, address, motor vehicle number, and driver’s license number to the injured party or owner of damaged property or to a police officer. In cases where no police officer or party is available, such as when a person hits a car parked in a lot or on the street, the culpable individual must provide this same information in written form.
While it is never pleasant to suffer a personal injury as a result of a vehicle impact, whether you are the driver or passenger of a vehicle, a pedestrian involved with the accident, or anyone else, being the victim of a hit and run accident can also leave you feeling powerless and devastated.
A hit-and-run is a crime and, if there is serious injury involved or other conditions are present, it may even constitute a felony. A hit and run driver who does not stop can leave injured parties:
All of these risks could lead to serious complications or even death.
Too often, the drivers of hit-and-run vehicles are intoxicated, and they leave the scene to avoid potential serious criminal consequences of their reckless driving. In some cases, their judgment may be so impaired that they don’t even fully realize what they have done.
While it can be enormously frustrating to deal with the injustice of a hit-and-run accident, there are remedies available. The law firm of Ryan Bradley has extensive experience with many hit and run accidents, and can help you to obtain all the recovery you are entitled to.
First, while many hit-and-run drivers are never found, others are. Often, hit-and-run drivers who panic and leave the scene fail to realize that someone may have witnessed the accident, or the victim or victims may have seen the driver’s car or license plate, and these individuals may be able to identify these vehicles and who was driving them.
Because important evidence can be lost over time and eyewitnesses may forget important details, or culpable parties can repair their damaged vehicles, it is advisable to retain an attorney right away. An attorney who is intimately familiar with hit-and-run St. Louis traffic accidents can gather the relevant information and available evidence in order to track down the culpable driver.
But even where the hit-and-run driver cannot be found, recovery may still be available. The victim of a hit-and-run accident who has uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage on his or her own insurance policy may be able to recover from his or her own insurance company; even if the victim was injured not while they were operating their own vehicle, but as a pedestrian or cyclist.
Because insurance companies would rather have the hit and run driver’s insurance company pay for any damages rather than pay themselves, insurers have a vested interest in trying to find out who the culprit is, especially when there are high medical or property damage costs to cover. Sadly, this sometimes makes insurance companies reluctant to pay out on these claims where no at-fault party can be found, even when a party has uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Again, it is important to have a capable Missouri hit and run accident lawyer on your side who can make sure that your insurance company honors its agreement, and does not add insult to injury by trying to find some means to deny or delay your accident claim.
The personal injury attorneys at E. Ryan Bradley have over 30 years of experience in handling the claims of Missouri hit and run accident victims. Contact one of our lawyers today for a free consultation. We are available to answer all of your questions.