FREE CONSULTATION (314) 361-4242

St. Louis Hit and Run Lawyer

The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C., has represented hit-and-run victims in and around St. Louis, Missouri, for 25 years.

hit and run accident lawyer

 Hit-and-Run Accidents

There are numerous reasons that an individual may wish to flee the scene of an accident. Some of these reasons may include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Fear of getting caught driving without a license
  • Fear of getting caught driving without insurance
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Fear of going to jail

A hit-and-run case has severe legal consequences. The person responsible for the incident can have their driver’s license suspended, canceled, and possibly revoked for a lifetime. It is often considered a criminal offense.

At our St. Louis law firm, we know how frustrating it can be to suffer severe injuries in a car or truck accident and then feel as if you have no means of recovery. We can fight to protect your rights and obtain compensation for you. Whether you need help with medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering, we will be by your side every step of the way.

Actions to Take Following a Hit-and-Run Accident

It is stressful to be involved in any car accident. If you are ever the victim of a hit-and-run accident, taking specific actions immediately after, if possible, can be very helpful to your case.

First, record as much information as possible about the vehicle that caused the accident. Write down as many details as you can remember, such as the color, make, and model. Did you see the license plate number? Give as much information as you can in the police report.

If you didn’t see the other vehicle, note the time, location, and anything else you think may be essential to remember. Check to see if there were any witnesses to the accident. Get their names and numbers.

Common Injuries from Hit-and-Run Accidents

Hit-and-run accidents often result in serious injuries due to the sudden and unexpected nature of the collision. Here are some common injuries sustained by victims of hit-and-run accidents:

  • Head Injuries: Concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur if the victim’s head impacts the steering wheel, dashboard, or other parts of the vehicle.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: The sudden impact can cause herniated discs, spinal fractures, and even paralysis, significantly impacting the victim’s mobility and quality of life.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones: Commonly affected areas include the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis, which may require surgery and extended rehabilitation.
  • Whiplash and Neck Injuries: Whiplash occurs due to the sudden jolt of the head and neck during the collision, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
  • Internal Injuries: Damage to internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs, can result from blunt force trauma, sometimes requiring immediate surgery.
  • Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass and sharp metal from the impact can lead to deep cuts and lacerations, often resulting in permanent scarring.
  • Psychological Injuries: Victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression due to the traumatic nature of the accident.

After a hit-and-run accident, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries, like internal bleeding and traumatic brain injuries, may not show immediate symptoms but can worsen over time if untreated. Prompt medical treatment not only ensures your health and safety but also creates a detailed medical record that can support your claim.

Consulting a hit-and-run accident lawyer is equally important. An experienced lawyer can:

  • Help you understand your legal rights and options
  • Gather evidence, identify witnesses, and investigate the accident
  • Deal with insurance companies that may try to deny or undervalue your claim
  • Advocate for fair compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering

Injured in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident in St. Louis?

24/7 FREE CONSULTATION (314) 361-4242

Handling Issues With Your Insurance Company

If it is impossible to uncover who the driver at fault in your accident was, then we may still be able to pursue your own insurance company for compensation. You can rely on our knowledge in this area to advocate for you in your time of need.

What to do if you were hit?

How you respond to a hit-and-run accident can make or break your case down the road. Therefore, remaining calm and remembering the following steps after a hit-and-run car accident is important.

  • Write Everything Down: Write down everything you remember about the accident.  It is helpful to be very specific about the date and time of the accident and, if possible, a description of the car and the person driving. In certain situations, you may not be able to identify the specific details but try to remember as much as possible.
  • Look for Witnesses: If anyone was around during the accident, you should get their name and contact information.  They may be used as a witness later on.
  • Do Not Chase the Driver: Following a hit-and-run accident, you may be tempted to follow the driver. Consider why this would not be a good idea: First, you do not know the other driver’s state of mind and could put yourself and others at risk. Also, because you may be driving in an emotional, possibly even aggressive state, you could cause another accident due to your lack of judgment.
  • Call the Police: If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to contact the police and file an accident report using your recorded information. Filing a report is important even if you have little information to provide law enforcement. This official document will give you something to rely upon later.

The Plague of Hit-and-Run Drivers

Most drivers would never consider leaving the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, federal data shows that hit-and-run accidents have increased by over 13%. Drunk driving plays a major role in many hit-and-run accidents. Other reasons a driver may flee the scene of an accident include:

  • driving without a license
  • driving without insurance
  • driving under the influence of drugs
  • fear of going to jail

Hit and Run Defined

Missouri law is clear on defining a hit and run.  The operator of any motor vehicle being used on a roadway or inside a parking lot that is knowingly involved in an accident that resulted in the injury of a person or damage to property that flees the scene of the collision is guilty of leaving the scene of an accident.  By default, leaving the scene of an accident is possibly considered a misdemeanor unless a person was injured by the collision, the damage to property is over $1,000, or the driver has a prior history of hit-and-runs.  If any of these circumstances exist, the crime of leaving the scene of an accident may become a class D felony.

A driver may flee the scene of an accident for many reasons.  He may be unlicensed, uninsured, or even guilty of driving while under the influence.  They often run to avoid facing charges, and unfortunately, over half will get away with it.

Legal Consequences for Hit-and-Run Drivers

Under any circumstances, it is never a good idea to leave the scene of a car accident. The state of Missouri considers leaving an accident scene a criminal offense, and there are stiff penalties for doing so, including a suspended or revoked license and jail time. Missouri statute states:

The offense of leaving the scene of an accident is:

  1. A class A misdemeanor; or
  2. A class E felony if:
    • (a) Physical injury was caused to another party; or
    • (b) Damage in excess of one thousand dollars was caused to the property of another person; or
    • (c) The defendant has previously been found guilty of any offense committed in another jurisdiction that would violate an offense in this section if committed in this state.

Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, there are certain steps you can take that are helpful to recovering compensation. Record as much information as you possibly can:

  1. color, make, and model of the car
  2. license plate number
  3. time and location of the car accident
  4. contact information of any eyewitnesses

Take pictures, call the police, and file a police report. The identity of the hit-and-run driver may be found, and then you can pursue a car accident claim against the at-fault driver.

Who Pays for a Hit-and-Run Accident?

The driver of the offending car fled the scene and is now nowhere to be found.  Who is going to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages?   Luckily for Missouri drivers, hit-and-runs are covered in their insurance policies, just like uninsured motorists.  This means that you will now have to file a claim with your car insurance company.  They will not be pleased and, more often than not, will try and avoid paying such claims.  Don’t let them get away with that.  You pay insurance premiums for a reason.  Let a St. Louis car accident attorney help you get all the compensation you are entitled to.

In St. Louis, a bicyclist was hit and seriously injured by a vehicle whose driver chose to flee.  Even though there were many witnesses to the accident and the make and model of the car were identified, police chose not to pursue it and closed the case.  Wisely, the bike rider sought advice and retained a St. Louis car accident lawyer willing to investigate the collision further.  They identified the vehicle driver and, using the witness testimony, reached a settlement agreement of $50,000.  Another $1.75 million was awarded to a Missouri woman struck by a hit-and-run driver in her car.  In this instance, the driver was never apprehended, and the woman had to rely on her own insurance to help cover the cost of her head and orthopedic injuries.  The insurance company felt that the case was only worth $500,000, but her Missouri car accident attorney fought against them for the larger sum.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Free Consultation (314) 361-4242

Frequently Asked Questions About Hit-and-Run Accidents

What should I do immediately after a hit-and-run accident in St. Louis?

After a hit-and-run accident, try to remain calm and collect as much information as possible about the vehicle and driver, including color, make, and model. Note the time, location, and license plate number, if possible. Seek witnesses, call the police, and file a report using your recorded information. Avoid chasing the driver and contact a hit-and-run accident lawyer.

What legal consequences does a hit-and-run driver face in Missouri?

In Missouri, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a criminal offense. Penalties include a suspended or revoked license and jail time. Depending on the severity, it may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony:

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Class E felony if physical injury occurs, property damage exceeds $1,000, or the driver has a prior hit-and-run conviction.

Can I receive compensation if the hit-and-run driver isn’t identified?

Yes, Missouri drivers are covered by uninsured motorist insurance policies, which often include hit-and-run accidents. If the driver is not identified, you can still file a claim with your insurance company. However, they may attempt to avoid payment, so it’s essential to have a hit-and-run lawyer advocate for you.

What kind of damages can I recover from a hit-and-run accident?

Victims of hit-and-run accidents in St. Louis may recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

How can a hit-and-run lawyer help me with my case?

An experienced hit-and-run lawyer can:

  • Investigate the accident thoroughly to identify the responsible driver
  • Gather crucial evidence, including witness testimonies and surveillance footage
  • Negotiate with insurance companies for fair compensation
  • Represent you in court if necessary

What information should I collect if I’m involved in a hit-and-run accident?

After a hit-and-run accident, try to collect:

  • Vehicle details: color, make, model, and license plate number
  • Time and location of the accident
  • Contact information of any eyewitnesses
  • Photos of the accident scene and damage

Is leaving the scene of an accident always considered a hit-and-run?

Yes, in Missouri, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a hit-and-run if:

  • The driver knowingly caused injury or property damage
  • The driver flees without providing necessary information or assistance

What are the most common reasons drivers flee the scene after an accident?

Common reasons include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Driving without a license or insurance
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Fear of going to jail

How long do I have to file a claim after a hit-and-run accident in Missouri?

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Missouri is five years from the date of the accident. However, it’s advisable to act quickly to gather evidence and identify the hit-and-run driver.

How can I handle issues with my insurance company after a hit-and-run accident?

If your insurance company refuses to cover your hit-and-run accident claim or offers an insufficient settlement, a hit-and-run lawyer can negotiate on your behalf or take the case to court to secure the compensation you deserve.

Injured in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident in St. Louis?

24/7 FREE CONSULTATION (314) 361-4242