Unfortunately, not all drivers stop and take care of the responsibilities that exist when they hit a person or a vehicle. When the driver flees the scene without providing any information or offering assistance, it is labeled as a hit and run. It is against the law – and in Louisiana, it can result in a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim(s).
If you or someone you love has become the victim of a hit and run, it can be a scary time. You may have significant injuries and you’re filled with worry. The emotional and financial stress can be a lot, leaving you wondering what you should do and how you’re supposed to pay for the injuries.
With the help of experienced car accident attorneys in the New Orleans area, it’s possible to figure out what needs to be done. Hit and runs are handled differently than traditional car accidents – mainly because it’s unknown who is to blame. As soon as you’ve experienced a hit and run, it’s critical to contact a lawyer to avoid problems and to protect your ability to seek financial compensation.
5 Steps to Follow After Being Injured in a Hit & Run
There are a few steps that you will need to follow to ensure you’re able to get the help you need.
Step 1: Seek Medical Attention
Although you may be upset or confused following a hit and run, your health is of the utmost importance. If you are hurt in any way, be sure that you seek immediate medical attention. You may even need to call 911 if you are unable to leave the scene on your own. Treating your injuries right away will also be critical to support a claim for accident-related injuries.
Be sure you keep a record of all of your injuries – this includes doctor visits, prescriptions, and therapy. Your car accident attorney and even your car insurance company may need these.
Step 2: Call the Police
Whether you were in a car or you were a pedestrian, you were still hit by a car – and that requires a report to the police. In some instances, the police may be called to the scene along with emergency medical personnel. You’ll want to get a report into the police so that they can gather more information. They’ll gather evidence from the scene, interview any witnesses, and record injuries from any and all of the victims involved.
A police report will be a critical component when supporting a claim for damages that will be used by a hit and run lawyer.
Step 3: Collect Details from the Scene
If you are able to, you will want to collect as many details from the scene as possible. Take photos of where you are at and the level of damage that occurred. If you remember any details of the vehicle (color, model, license plate, etc.), be sure to write them down quickly so that you don’t forget.
If you are too injured at the time of the accident, ask anyone who was with you to collect details.
Additionally, if there are witnesses, ask them to stay so that they can make a statement to the police. If they cannot stay, try to collect contact information so that it can be shared with the police.
Filing a hit and run claim is different than filing a claim for standard car accidents. Much of this is because you won’t have the same level of detail or even know who was responsible. Contacting a personal injury lawyer in Louisiana is critical to ensure you get the help needed.
An experienced attorney who has worked with hit and run claims in the past will know how to navigate you through the laws. This includes investigating the hit and run. It may be necessary to conduct a full investigation, which includes talking to witnesses and even requesting camera footage from nearby cameras to identify the vehicle.
There are several things that should happen – the person who was at fault needs to be charged with a crime and they need to be held responsible, which means ensuring you get financial compensation.
The goal is to find the driver. If the driver cannot be found, your attorney will file the claim with your insurance company, which can include negotiating a settlement.
Before you begin talking with your insurance company, be sure that you work with a lawyer – otherwise, you may misstep and settle for significantly less than what your case is worth.
Step 5: Work within the Louisiana Statute of Limitations
It’s important to know that there’s a statute of limitations in Louisiana – and it’s considerably shorter than in many other states. You only have one year to take any kind of civil action, including filing a claim for a hit and run injury. This includes reporting it to your car insurance company to be able to get a claim approved.
While your first priority should be to get better, you can do both by allowing a hit and run attorney to do a significant amount of the work for you.
Contact a Louisiana Attorney Who Specializes in Hit & Runs
When the driver is nowhere in sight and your insurance company doesn’t want to pay because they don’t have enough to go on, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This is when you’ll want to focus on the legalities of what you can do.
Our car accident attorneys can help to review your case and talk to you about the options that are available. We’ll use our skills to defend your rights and fight to negotiate or litigate for the best possible outcome.
Learn more about your case and the ability to seek financial compensation by contacting a Louisiana car attorney. At Allan Berger & Associates, we have experience representing countless victims of hit and run accidents. Call us at 504-526-2222 or contact us directly through our website so we can schedule a consultation to review your case.