What Should I Do After a Hit and Run?
North Carolina Hit and Run Accident Attorney Explains Your Options
Hit and run accidents are car crashes in which one party fails to stop at the scene and identify themselves. Hit and runs are illegal, although the type of charge associated with this crime varies from state to state. Sometimes, police can use a license number or traffic camera footage to find the person responsible for the hit and run. If so, you may then be able to file a car accident claim against that driver to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Otherwise, you should be able to collect an insurance settlement from your own provider through your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
Hit and run accidents are often even more stressful and confusing than other car crashes. After this kind of collision, you may have questions about how to find the driver and get compensation for your personal injuries and losses. At the law offices of Riddle & Brantley, LLP, our auto accident lawyers have decades of experience helping auto accident victims in North Carolina. A hit and run accident attorney from our law firm can answer your questions and explain your options after this kind of car crash. Call us today toll free at (800) 525-7111 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. We are here to help and only get paid when we obtain a recovery on your behalf.
What are the Laws Concerning Hit and Run Accidents in North Carolina?
According to the North Carolina General Assembly § 20-166, a reasonable driver who is involved in a car accident that resulted in property damage, personal injuries, or death must immediately stop at the scene. The driver should remain at the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives and completes an investigation. Then, the officer will permit the driver to leave.
Furthermore, a driver cannot facilitate, allow, or agree to the removal of the vehicle from the scene of a car accident. The only exception is leaving to call police or for medical assistance. However, this is almost always unnecessary in the modern day due to the prevalence of cell phones. Drivers must also provide contact and vehicle information to the driver of other vehicle(s) involved.
In short, it is illegal for the driver involved in a car accident to leave the scene. This is true even for minor car crashes, such as a low-speed rear end collision with no injuries and no property damage.
In North Carolina, hit and run drivers face misdemeanor criminal charges if the accident resulted in only minimal injuries. If a wrongful death or severe catastrophic injury results, the driver will face Class H felony charges, which could mean up to 8 months in jail. Regardless, the criminal case against the driver will not provide compensation for you, the victim. Instead, you must file a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own uninsured insurance company. Otherwise, you may have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Hit and Run
Most victims of hit and run accidents are unaware of their rights and what they can do to protect themselves. After these kinds of car crashes, there are certain steps you should take:
- Get emergency medical attention. As with any car accident, calling 911 for the police and an ambulance to help victims of life-threatening personal injuries is the most important step.
- Write down all the information you remember of the other vehicle involved in the car crash. A license number is often extremely helpful, but is not always necessary to find the driver. If you can recall details of what the driver looked like, that may also help your case.
- Document the scene by taking pictures. Get names and contact information for any witnesses as well.
- Contact a hit and run accident attorney. An experienced lawyer can use the police report and information from the criminal investigation to help your case. If the authorities find the hit and run driver, an attorney can help you obtain his or her insurance information and file a car accident claim. If the police cannot locate the driver, your lawyer can advise you of your other options for compensation.
- Inspect the scene to determine if any nearby businesses or locations have video footage of the wreck.
Other Kinds of Hit and Run Accidents
We also see many hit and run accidents involving pedestrians, motorcycle riders and bicycle riders. These hit and run accidents usually leave a severely injured person as most have no protection, such as the body of a closed vehicle. Sometimes these victims do not even see what hit them and cannot identify a vehicle or a driver.
Reports by law enforcement and witness statements are key to our success in representing these injured parties. We prefer to get these cases as soon as possible after the accident so that we can conduct a thorough investigation and attempt to identify and locate the hit and run driver. Believe it or not, pedestrians are covered by the provisions of their own uninsured motorist coverage for accidents involving hit and run drivers. We have handled many of these hit and run accidents in the past and are prepared to help you.
Driver Flee the Scene of a Crash? Contact a NC Hit and Run Accident Attorney
At the law offices of Riddle & Brantley, LLP, we understand how difficult and confusing it can be to file a car accident claim after a hit and run accident. Most people may not even know that filing a claim is an option. However, a hit and run accident attorney from our law firm can answer your questions and provide comprehensive legal counsel for your specific claim and help to guide you or your loved ones through the entire litigation process.
We proudly serve clients throughout North Carolina and nationwide from our offices in Jacksonville, Raleigh, Kinston and Goldsboro. Our offices are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we offer home and hospital visits.
With more than 160 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys are well-versed in North Carolina car accident claims. We pride ourselves in fighting for the rights of victims in hit and run accidents. At the law offices of Riddle & Brantley, LLP, justice counts. Call us today at (800) 525-7111 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.