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Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Hit-and-Run Driver?

Categorized as Auto Accidents, Wrongful Death

When you’re involved in an auto accident and the driver at fault flees the scene, you might be wondering what you can do. Although insurance companies can help cover the costs of property damage and medical expenses, it can be much more difficult than expected to get the compensation you deserve.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 11 percent of car accidents are hit-and-runs.

There are some ways to protect your rights if you’re ever involved in a hit-and-run collision, including:

  • Record any information you can about the other vehicle and driver, such as the make, model, and color of the vehicle, as well as a description of the driver. This information can help law enforcement locate the culprit.
  • Call law enforcement report the accident.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene. If your camera or cellphone is handy you may even be able to snap photos of the driver who fled.

If law enforcement is able to locate the driver, you may be able to recover damages for your losses by filing a lawsuit. You can file a lawsuit for a hit-and-run driver due to negligence and failure to use reasonable care.

Part of building a strong personal injury claim is establishing that the individual failed to act just as a reasonable person would. The individual who fled the scene of a crash failed to adhere to Missouri laws and thus acted unreasonably and negligently.

If the driver who hit your vehicle fled the scene was apprehended within your state’s statute of limitations, you may be eligible to sue the driver. Commonly, their insurer will be responsible for covering damage you incurred including medical expenses and property damage. However, the driver may also be sued for negligence. In fatal hit-and-run accidents, the driver at fault may be sued for wrongful death.

Hit-and-run accidents may involve another car, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle rider. According to the American Automotive Association for Traffic Safety, about 60 percent of hit-and-run accidents occur on weekends and about 50 percent occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Those who are involved in a hit-and-run collision should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney after the accident to determine if they may be entitled to sue the driver or their insurer for further compensation.