If a driver hits you while you are driving, you would normally stop, ask for the driver’s information, and file a claim with their auto insurance carrier. However, if the driver flees the scene of the accident, you may not know where to turn for compensation, especially if more than one party may be liable. The legal team at Tiano O’Dell can help you hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions. Contact us today at (304) 915-0823 for a free case review. 

Reasons for Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents are especially dangerous because they leave a victim vulnerable. An injured victim may be unable to get out of their vehicle and may be hurt in a secondary crash. Their transport to the emergency room may also be delayed because the at-fault driver fled the scene. Hit and run accidents often occur because the driver who caused the crash was doing something illegal, such as:

  • Driving without insurance or a license
  • Fleeing the scene of a crime
  • Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Street racing
  • Texting and driving

Hit and run crashes can also occur when a person feels panicked and is afraid of what may happen to them. However, drivers have a duty to stop at an accident scene, render aid, and provide information about themselves and their insurance. When they fail to uphold these duties, they should be held accountable for their careless actions. 

Determining Liability 

If more than one vehicle is involved in an accident, the insurance companies will want to determine who caused the accident. West Virginia is an at-fault state for car insurance. This means that the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage is supposed to cover the damages caused by their insured. Even if the collision was a hit and run, it was not necessarily caused by the driver who left the scene of the accident. 

The car accident could have been caused because one or more drivers:

  • Were speeding
  • Were distracted or inattentive 
  • Did not stop at a stop sign or light
  • Ignore traffic signals
  • Drove recklessly or carelessly 
  • Were drinking and driving

Determining liability requires analyzing the circumstances surrounding the crash and the actions of all drivers involved. Your lawyer and the insurance company may review available evidence to determine liability, such as:

  • The accident report
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Traffic camera or surveillance camera footage of the scene
  • Witness statements 
  • Physical damage to the vehicle and other property

Split Responsibility 

In some situations, more than one person may be responsible for the accident, including the victim. As long as the victim is 50% or less at fault for the accident, they can still pursue a claim for compensation. However, their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. 

Steps to Protect Your Rights

There are steps you can take to affirmatively protect your rights following a hit-and-run accident, including:

File a Police Report

One of the first things you should do after a hit-and-run accident is to contact the authorities. This can help you get an ambulance sent to transport you to the hospital, as well as to get a police officer to the scene so they can start investigating the hit and run accident. Give the responding officer any information you have that could help you identify the at fault driver(s), including a physical description, any part of the license plate number you remembered, and a description of their vehicle. 

Document the Accident Scene 

Take pictures of the accident scene, property damage, and your injuries. Ask any witnesses for their contact information. 

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance with Your Claim

You do not have to go through this process alone. An experienced car accident attorney in Charleston can try to identify the at-fault driver(s), communicate with the insurance company, and gather evidence to establish liability while you focus on your recovery. You can schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer at Tiano O’Dell by contacting us online or calling us at (304) 915-0823.