An accident is regarded as a hit-and-run when one of the drivers involved in the crash leaves the scene. A hit-and-run is different from other accidents in that the identity of the at-fault driver is typically unknown. This makes it harder for you to hold the culprit accountable and seek compensatory damages.
Here is a look at what you should do after a crash like this, and what your legal options are for recovering damages after a hit and run accident in Delray Beach.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash?
When you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to make sure you look out for your safety after the crash. You must also stay on the right side of the law to ensure that you are able to recover compensation down the road.
Here are some guidelines you should follow to safeguard yourself and your rights after a hit-and-run crash.
Try your best to remain calm and composed. You may be tempted to follow the other driver in anger but you must not do so. Doing so can put your safety at risk as the hit-and-run driver may be armed, drunk, or aggressive.
Remain at the Scene and Call the Authorities
Don’t leave the scene after the accident. If you do, this will make it difficult for the authorities to gather important information and evidence that you can provide. Leaving the crash scene will also weaken your subsequent claim for damages.
Contact the authorities by directly calling the nearest police station or dialing 911.
Get Medical Help
Once the paramedics arrive on the scene of the crash, make sure you receive medical treatment. This must be done even if you apparently have no injuries, as certain internal injuries are not immediately visible. After driving away from the crash scene, you should also ideally undergo a thorough medical checkup.
Note Down Important Details
Try to note down important details about the culprit and the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run. Such details may include the vehicle registration number, the color of the vehicle, and details about the driver’s physical appearance.
Gather Video and Photo Evidence
It’s easy to gather photo and video evidence if you have a smartphone with you. Simply take photos and videos of the injuries, vehicles, visible damage to the vehicles, skid marks on the road, and the surrounding landscape.
Inform Your Insurance Company
You should inform your insurance company at the earliest after the accident. Share details of your injuries and any other damages sustained in the incident.
How to Get Damages After a Hit and Run Accident?
In a hit-and-run, the identity of the at-fault driver is typically unknown. So you have to work with other options when seeking compensation. Here are some ways you can seek damages after a hit-and-run in Delray Beach, Florida.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Policy
As a no-fault state, Florida law mandates that all drivers must carry PIP coverage as a part of their auto insurance. This policy allows you to recover compensation for your crash-related damages regardless of who was at fault.
PIP coverage offers compensation of up to $10,000 for your losses. You are required to get medical treatment within 14 days of the accident in order to be eligible for damages. In addition, PIP coverage is limited in the following ways:
- Only 80% of your medical costs are covered, up to the policy limit.
- In case you are forced to take time away from work, PIP offers you 60% of your lost wages, up to the policy limit.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage
PIP is one of the most effective options to seek immediate damages after a hit-and-run. However, PIP damages are capped as noted above. If your damages exceed $10,000, you will need to recover compensation through other options.
One such option is UM/UIM coverage. As the name suggests, this type of coverage protects you in case you suffer a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. UM/UIM coverage is optional and you can opt-out of it when signing up for your auto insurance policy.
However, if you choose to carry this type of coverage, it covers your losses after a hit-and-run. You can then use this coverage to recoup the damages that are left behind after the PIP damages.
Personal Injury Claim
You can also file a personal injury claim in case the hit-and-run driver is apprehended by the authorities. Such a claim is possible only when the other driver has insurance. If the driver is found but doesn’t have insurance, you can pursue a lawsuit.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
A final option you have is to file a civil lawsuit for compensatory damages. However, this option is viable only if the other driver is arrested and has assets that are valuable enough to pay for your damages.
Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Delray Beach, FL
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run crash in Delray Beach, it is important to get legal help at the earliest. As noted above, you will need to pursue alternate options for compensation after an accident like this.