As a St. Louis resident, navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident can be a complex and emotional process. The shock and distress of the event are often exacerbated by the unknown — the fleeing of the other party making it challenging to seek accountability. However, it’s crucial to know that you have legal rights that can help you in these situations.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver involved in a vehicular accident — whether with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property — leaves the scene without identifying themselves or offering aid as required by law. Leaving an accident scene in Missouri can lead to significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Your Legal Rights After a Hit-and-Run Accident
As a hit-and-run accident victim, you have certain legal rights, including the right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages, even if the at-fault driver is never found.
Right to Report
In the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident, your first right is to report the incident to law enforcement. The police can investigate and attempt to identify the fleeing driver. The report also serves as crucial evidence if you file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Right to Seek Medical Attention
You have the right to seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor. This protects your health and creates a medical record linking your injuries to the accident, which is vital in any legal case.
Right to File an Insurance Claim
Missouri law requires all motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This policy comes into play in hit-and-run cases, where the at-fault driver is unidentified, essentially treating them as uninsured. You have the right to file a claim under your policy for injuries and damages resulting from the accident.
Right to Legal Counsel
You have the right to retain a St. Louis car accident lawyer to represent your interests. Legal counsel can guide you through the complexities of insurance claims and potential litigation, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
The Role of a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a St. Louis car accident lawyer after a hit-and-run accident can be invaluable. An experienced lawyer can:
- Assist with the insurance claims process: Your lawyer can handle communications with your insurance company, helping to ensure you receive a fair payout.
- Gather evidence: If the hit-and-run driver is identified, your lawyer can help gather evidence to establish their liability.
- Fight for fair compensation: If negotiations with insurance companies don’t yield satisfactory results, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or your insurance company, advocating for your rights in court.
Protecting Your Rights: Steps to Take Following a Hit-and-Run
While dealing with a hit-and-run accident can be overwhelming, the steps you take immediately following the accident can significantly impact your ability to exercise your legal rights.
- Document the incident: Note the time, location, and any details you can recall about the fleeing vehicle. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
- Call the police: Reporting the incident promptly can increase the likelihood of the hit-and-run driver being identified.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel fine, get checked out. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
- Contact your insurance company: Report the accident as soon as possible.
- Consult with a car accident lawyer: Even if you’re unsure whether you need a lawyer, a consultation can provide important insight and guidance.
St. Louis Hit-and-Run Lawyer
Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident in St. Louis can feel incredibly isolating and unfair, but it’s crucial to remember that you have rights designed to protect and support you during these trying times. You can pursue justice and compensation for your damages through proper reporting, thorough medical attention, and the right legal support, even in a hit-and-run scenario.
Navigating the aftermath of such an accident can be daunting. However, a skilled St. Louis car accident lawyer can guide you through the process, advocating for your rights and working tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
From assisting with insurance claims to potentially representing you in court, legal professionals play an instrumental role in securing justice in hit-and-run cases. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm to explore your legal options.
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!