Hit and run collisions happen more frequently than many people realize. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that hit and run crashes made up 11.7% of all car accidents in recent years, causing 138,500 injuries and 2,049 fatalities.
Hit and run collisions often result in severe injuries, as well as significant emotional and financial distress. All drivers are required to stop and remain at the scene of an accident. If someone fails to do so, they are shirking their legal and social responsibility to the others involved.
An at-fault driver fleeing the scene can rob the victim of the fair compensation they’re entitled to. This could leave them forced to pay out-of-pocket for injuries and damage to their vehicle, even if the crash was not their fault. However, some options may be available to victims of hit and run crashes.
The Albuquerque hit and run car accident lawyers at Parnall Law are prepared to help you seek the compensation you need after a hit and run accident. We are ready to investigate your accident, work with law enforcement to locate the hit-and-run driver, and review your insurance policy to determine what uninsured motorist (UM) coverage may be available to you. We can also fight for your insurer to pay you the fair amount according to your policy.
What Is a Hit and Run Car Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a driver hits your car and then leaves the scene of the accident. In the state of New Mexico and throughout the rest of the country, drivers involved in collisions are legally required to:
- Stop their vehicle and, if possible, move the car to prevent blocking traffic.
- Call for an ambulance and provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone who is injured.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved.
- Call the police if anyone is injured or if there is more than $500 worth of property damage.
When a person fails to take these steps after an accident, they are breaking the law because they failed to remain on the scene and render aid. According to the New Mexico code of law, section 66-7-201, drivers who leave an accident after causing serious injuries or death may be charged with a felony. Despite these consequences, many people still drive away after an accident because they:
- Believe they will not get caught.
- Do not have car insurance.
- Are intoxicated or engaging in other illegal activities.
- Have outstanding warrants.
- Are scared of the consequences.
Even if you can never identify the driver or car that hit you – as is often the case – you could still seek compensation for your injuries through your auto policy’s UM coverage after a hit and run accident.
Who Pays for Injuries in a Hit and Run?
After most car accidents, you will exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. After investigations and negotiations, the other driver’s car insurance policy will pay you for the injuries and damages the other driver caused. When you do not have information about the other driver because they fled the scene, you cannot request payment from their insurance company.
This does not mean you have to bear the costs of an accident you did not cause. Car insurance companies throughout New Mexico are required to offer uninsured motorist policies. This policy protects drivers in the event of an accident with someone who is not insured and applies to hit and run accidents.
After a hit and run accident, you can file a claim with your insurance through your UM coverage. Your insurance company will review the accident and provide compensation for your injuries and property damage.
If you do not have UM coverage, your insurance may still pay for the cost of your injuries under a collision policy. You may have to pay the deductible stated in our policy to receive this kind of compensation.
Can I Get Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident?
Compensation after a serious accident is essential to protect your financial interests and to allow appropriate ongoing medical care. You may need significant medical treatment, vehicle repairs, and time away from work as a result of your injury, and all of this comes with a cost.
If you have UM coverage or collision coverage, you are eligible to receive compensation after a hit and run accident. An attorney can help you read your policy to see what your insurance company owes you.
After your crash, an insurance adjuster will review the severity of your accident and the type of injuries you sustained to determine the compensation they feel you are owed. Contact an attorney to be sure it’s fair.
The compensation you receive from your insurance policy may cover the cost of:
- Emergency medical care
- Hospitalization and surgery
- Ongoing medical needs resulting from the accident
- Rehabilitation services
- Lost wages or time from work
- Inability to return to work
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Alternative transportation
After a serious hit and run accident, you deserve the maximum financial compensation possible, so that you can live your life comfortably despite the driver’s reckless behavior. Unfortunately, even “your” insurance company may try to offer you less money than you deserve to protect their bottom line.
Whenever you seek compensation from an insurance company – even your own – you need an attorney who can fight for the money you deserve. Your lawyer will help you calculate the total cost of your accident, from medical bills to non-economic damages like your pain and suffering. Our hit and run attorneys at Parnall Law are prepared to seek a fair, full settlement on your behalf.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, you probably feel confused and overwhelmed. Even in the midst of your confusion, you need to take action to protect yourself. You can gather important evidence to substantiate your injury claim. Our hit and run lawyers can use that evidence to seek the financial support you need to recover.
The steps you take after an accident play a crucial role in your ability to seek compensation. After a hit and run accident, you should always:
- Seek medical attention – The primary focus after an accident is always your health and the health of your passengers. Make sure you keep documentation about the injuries you sustained, the treatment you received, and all medical bills.
- Call the police – Even if you do not need immediate medical attention after a hit and run accident, you should always file a report with the police. This report will ensure that you have official documentation of the accident. In Albuquerque, you can file a report over the phone by calling the police non-emergency number at 505-242-COPS.
- Take notes about the incident – Write down everything you remember about the other vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate. If you saw the driver, take notes about their physical description and gender. Any information you can provide will help the police in their attempt to find the suspect.
- Contact a Lawyer – After a hit and run accident, you need to make sure that you understand your rights and that seek fair compensation. A lawyer will ensure that you take the appropriate steps to file an injury claim. A competent attorney, like ours at Parnall Law, can negotiate with your insurance provider to seek a fair settlement.
Don’t wait to take action after your crash. The more information you gather in the immediate aftermath of the accident, the more likely you are to receive the compensation you need.
Will a Hit and Run Accident Affect My Insurance?
In most cases, a hit and run accident will not increase your insurance premiums. Insurance companies usually classify a hit and run accident as a not-at-fault collision. In other words, you did not cause the accident, so your insurance premium should not change.
When you file your insurance claim after a hit and run accident, you should always verify that the report reflects that you were not at fault. Your hit and run lawyer can help you if someone categorizes your crash differently.
Fear of an increased car insurance premium should never stop you from demanding the compensation you need. If your insurance company threatens to increase the monthly price of your insurance because of your claim, they may be using a scare tactic to try to dissuade you from seeking compensation.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer After a Hit and Run Accident
If you were hurt in a hit and run accident, you need fair compensation for your injuries. The Albuquerque hit and run accident attorneys at Parnall Law are ready to fight for you. Our lawyers have the skills necessary to make a convincing injury claim on your behalf. We will not allow your insurance to take advantage of you during this difficult time.
The compassionate attorneys at Parnall Law understand that no hit and run accident is the same. That is why we take the time to get to know you and your case. We’ll create an individualized legal approach that meets your need.
When you work with Parnall Law, you can focus on recovering while trusting us to pursue the compensation you deserve. Start your personal injury claim right now by calling Parnall Law to schedule a free consultation.