A motor vehicle accident where one person involved in the crash does not stop to exchange information with the other accident victim is called a “hit and run” accident. Hit and run accident victims can have a hard time collecting damages for their injuries and compensation for any property damage done to their vehicles. A “hit and run” accident is a crime committed by the fleeing driver.
A driver may choose not to stop after being involved in a car accident for different reasons. The driver may be driving without auto insurance or a driver’s license, or there may be an outstanding warrant for the driver’s arrest. There is never a good reason for not stopping after being involved in a car accident. A hit and run driver, if apprehended and arrested, could face serious criminal penalties. If you or a loved one has been hurt, contact our Philadelphia hit and run accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Call (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation with The Reiff Law Firm.
Common Reasons for Hit and Run Accidents in Philadelphia
In most accident situations, everyone involved remains to either await help or otherwise deal with the accident’s aftermath. However, there are some situations where an accident occurs and the driver who caused the crash drives away. There are usually some underlying reasons why a driver refuses to remain at the scene of the accident.
One of the most common reasons is because the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only was their decision-making ability impaired, but it is also possible they feared the legal repercussions of driving while intoxicated.
Other times, the driver who caused the accident knows they were at fault and chose to try and avoid any financial or legal consequences. For example, a driver that was texting at the time of the incident might believe it is better to drive away instead of facing any penalties or costs associated with causing an accident. In some instances, a driver might be so distracted they are unaware that they hit another person or car.
If a driver has no insurance, not only are they concerned about the legal ramifications but also the possibility of being held personally responsible for any damages or economic harm they caused.
Types of Hit and Run Accidents in Philadelphia
Hit and run accidents in Philadelphia are not limited to a car colliding with another and then speeding off. Unfortunately, many hit and run accidents involve people who are not in another vehicle.
Pedestrians walking the streets of the city are often the victim of hit and run drivers. This is especially the case if the driver is intoxicated or believes no one saw the incident.
Philadelphia has many bike lanes, cyclists, and even offers its citizens a bike-share program. Because of this, many bicyclists are sharing the streets with cars and trucks. When a vehicle strikes a bike, the driver is required to stop. However, in many cases, for the reasons stated previously, a motorist could drive away. In some situations, the driver might be unaware that they collided with a cyclist.
What to Do if You Are the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident
If you are ever involved in a car accident, there are some steps you should take to ensure your health and protect your legal rights. Hit and run accidents are no different. However, because the other driver left the scene of the accident, there are some things you will be unable to do, such as get their name and insurance information. On the other hand, there are some specific things you should do when you are involved in a hit and run accident in Philadelphia.
- If you are a hit and run accident victim, do not follow the reckless driver. They may be dangerous and should not be confronted alone. Furthermore, it is not your job or responsibility to chase down an offending driver. You could risk getting into another accident. Under no circumstances should an accident victim respond by engaging in reckless or negligent behavior. You could easily find yourself as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Move your car, if able, to a safe location off the side of the road and call 911 immediately and tell the police what happened. You should not leave the scene of the accident. Because the other driver fled, it is now a crime scene. More importantly, you want to give the police as much information about the accident as possible.
- Try to remember and provide as many details as you can about the driver and the vehicle, including the license plate number. Even if you do not recall the entire number, a portion might assist the authorities in tracking down the other driver. It is also helpful if you could provide the color, make, and model of the car.
- Collect information from witnesses and write down their contact information. If there are neighboring businesses, either get their information or ask if they could have had surveillance video that captured the accident. This information could prove crucial in a personal injury lawsuit.
- If possible, preserve any evidence at the accident scene.
- Take photographs of the motor vehicle and accident site. If you have a cellphone, take more pictures than you think you need. Include any marks or debris in the roadway. Any photographic evidence could be vital in a civil suit or in locating the other driver.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, you might not have had a choice in this matter. However, even if you do not believe you suffered an injury, you should see your doctor within a day or two after the accident. Many injuries are not evident at the time of the incident. In some cases, damage to your soft tissue might take days or weeks to materialize. By seeing a doctor sooner than later, you are protecting both your health and your legal rights.
As a hit and run accident victim, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation from the negligent party for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost income, and other associated damages.
Options for Victims of Hit and Run Accidents in Philadelphia
Anyone who drives, cycles, or walks in Philadelphia could be the victim of a hit and run accident. After dealing with the immediate aftermath of a hit and run accident, a victim might begin to wonder if they will be responsible for any medical expenses and how to handle the financial strain if they are required to miss extended time from work. Paying your mortgage or rent might become an issue, let only any enormous medical bills.
Our experienced Philadelphia hit and run accident injury attorney is available to help you navigate this difficult time. Our office will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive legal strategy, whether the driver who hit you is caught or remains forever unknown.
If you have purchased underinsured or uninsured coverage from your insurance provider, you should be able to rely on your insurance to cover a good portion of your financial losses. Unless this type of coverage is expressly denied in your policy, it should be available.
However, it is crucial to remember, even though you are working with an agent from your insurance company, they are not working for you. In every situation, an insurance provider is trying to limit the amount of liability they have. While you explain what occurred or the extent of your injuries, the agent is looking for ways to either reduce or deny your compensation. When you are suffering from an injury and trying to get your life back in order, an unfair settlement might appear sufficient. However, with the help of a strong legal advocate, you should fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.
In situations where the hit and run driver is caught, you are permitted to file a civil lawsuit against them. Should this occur, all the work you did at the accident scene will be vital in building a case against the defendant driver. Our Philadelphia hit and run accident injury attorney could file a claim against both the driver and their insurance company. Whether they are facing criminal charges is immaterial – though it could be a compelling reason for the insurance company to offer a substantial settlement rather than face a trial. Our office will work to get you the best settlement or award possible.
If You Were Injured in a Hit and Run Accident in Philadelphia, Our Lawyers Can Help
To schedule your free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online.