Personal vehicles make everything easier for us, but they also come with risks. Hit and run accidents are terrifying, and it can be difficult to know where to turn in order to understand your rights and seek legal help. If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It’s important that you find a personal injury attorney who can help you figure out what your rights are and what you might be entitled to.
What qualifies as a hit and run accident?
Hit and runs are illegal in every state. They are notoriously dangerous and carry high penalties for those convicted of committing them. According to nolo.com, the penalties for committing a hit and run can be a fine of around $5,000 – $20,000 in addition to incarceration. While punishments vary depending on the severity of the crash, they are usually quite severe. For these reasons, it is important to know what exactly qualifies as a hit and run accident.
In almost all cases, a hit and run occurs when someone is involved in a car accident and proceeds to exit the area without first identifying themselves or attempting to offer aid. Hit and runs can involve cars crashing into other cars, but the term also includes cars crashing into pedestrians, property, and in some states, even animals.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
If you have just been the victim of a hit and run accident, it can be difficult to determine your next step. These situations are intimidating and leave the person who has just been hit in charge of carrying out the next steps.
If you find yourself in a hit and run situation, first ensure that you are safe and not in need of emergency medical assistance. After you have established your own safety, there are a few steps you can take, such as:
- Contacting the police
- Writing down every detail of the perpetrator’s car
- Gathering eyewitness statements
- Contacting an attorney with experience in hit and run cases
These steps can make building a hit and run case much easier, and they can make it more likely that authorities will discover the party at fault.
What Not to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
After experiencing a hit and run, you might be tempted to take certain actions that could prove detrimental to your case later. After an event as traumatic as a hit and run, your instincts might not be as wise as you hope. Some things to avoid following a hit and run include (but are not limited to):
- Leaving the scene of the crime
- Chasing the person who is fleeing
- Getting out before ensuring you are in stable condition
Car accidents can cause a person’s adrenaline to spike, and it’s much easier to make a wrong decision in those heated moments than you might realize. That is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with what to do following a hit and run.
Seeking Legal Aid After a Hit and Run Accident
Hitting a person or object with a car or other vehicle is unquestionably illegal, and beyond that, it’s immoral. According to idrivesafely.com, deaths as a result of hit and run accidents have increased at a rate of 7.2% every single year since 2009. If you, a family member, or a valuable object that you own has been harmed by a hit and run accident, you are a victim of a crime and may be entitled to monetary compensation.
Contact Hewitt & Salvatore, PLLC, a personal injury firm that works with clients in Fayetteville and throughout West Virginia. Every attorney on the team is prepared to guide you through your legal battle with dedication and passion.