Fleeing the scene of an accident is either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the state. However, that does not always stop people from doing it. If you and another driver collide and they flee the scene of the crash, this type of accident is called a hit-and-run. After heading to the hospital and talking to the police, the next thing you should do is call a car accident attorney. Here's a look at why hiring an attorney is so important in this situation, and also a look at what such a lawyer can do for you.
Why Is Hiring a Lawyer Important?
Figuring out who pays for the damages can get complicated.
After most car accidents, the insurance companies that represent the two drivers talk and figure out which driver is "at fault." Then, that driver's insurance company pays for the damages. In the case of a hit-and-run, however, determining who is responsible for paying can get complicated. If you never find out the identity of the other driver, then their insurance company can't be held liable. And if you do find out their identity, there's a good chance they don't have insurance — that's often why people flee the scene. What you don't want to happen is for you to be held liable for the accident simply because you're the only driver who is able to be reached. Your lawyer can help ensure that does not happen.
You'll have a lot of communication with the sheriff's departments.
You're going to be getting a lot of calls. The police will be calling you for information related to the legal case against the other driver. Your insurance company is going to be calling for updates. It can be hard to know what to say in these situations, and you don't want to say the wrong thing that may cause you to be seen as liable for the accident in any way. Your lawyer can guide you as to what you should say and what you should not say.
You will likely end up in court.
In the case of a hit-and-run, you are very likely to end up in court. You will probably be called as a witness in the legal case against the other driver if they are caught. You may also need to go to civil court to sue the other driver for damages. A lawyer can represent you in both cases.
What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do For You After a Hit-and-Run?
This is one major way in which a car accident attorney can take the pressure off after a hit-and-run accident. They can field a lot of the calls from the police and from the insurance companies so you're not spending all day on the phone. If there's anything your lawyer needs from you, they'll ask, and you know you can trust them, which is not always the case with an insurer.
Make sure you get a fair settlement.
Many times, drivers who do not hire representation after a hit-and-run end up settling for a bare-bones amount because that's all the insurance company offers. Your lawyer, however, should know what your case is worth and will make sure you get that amount. They will tell you whether or not to accept a settlement and will know whether you should push the insurer to offer more.
Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be quite the calamity. After the crash, you need to make sure you call an attorney and give them all of the relevant information. They will guide you from there, ensuring that you're able to communicate effectively with the police and also get the compensation you deserve.
To learn more, contact a car accident lawyer.