Do I Still Have a Case If I Was a Victim in a Hit & Run?
Every year, many people are injured or killed in hit-and-runs in Hawaii and across the United States. Statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicate that there were about 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in the United States in 2015, causing 138,500 injuries and 1,819 fatalities.
Getting hurt in a hit-and-run accident – where the negligent driver leaves without offering any assistance or identification information – can be an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, Hawaii's no-fault laws allow accident victims to seek damages from their own insurance provider (PIP Policy), regardless of the at-fault party. An experienced Hawaii personal injury attorney can advocate for your legal rights and help pursue your deserved compensation.
At Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, our attorneys are poised and ready to assist, support, and represent victims of hit-and-run accidents in their injury claims. Our trusted legal team will evaluate and investigate the surrounding facts of your unique circumstances thoroughly and explore your possible legal options to seek damages for your injuries.
As your legal counsel, we will fight vigorously to protect your best interests and attempt to pursue the maximum possible compensation for your injuries, damages, or loss. Our firm proudly serves clients in Maui, Hawaii, and surrounding areas.
Filing a Claim in Hawaii
Hawaii is a "no-fault" auto insurance state. This means that your own insurance policy (PIP coverage) will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and some other accident-related losses – up to the coverage limit – if you're injured in a traffic crash, regardless of the liable party.
As a result, Hawaii motorists are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy of minimum coverage of $10,000 per person per accident. The PIP coverage is an insurance policy that provides financial compensation to accident victims.
However, you may be able to step outside the no-fault system in Hawaii and file a third-party claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver if your injuries meet one of the following thresholds:
Your injuries exceed the limits of your PIP insurance coverage.
The accident resulted in significant permanent loss of body part or function or serious and permanent disfigurement resulting in emotional or mental suffering.
A person was killed in the accident.
Though, filing a claim against the at-fault driver will only be possible if the hit-and-run driver is identified. An experienced Hawaii car accident attorney can review your case and enlighten you about your options to recover damages for your injuries.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Provision
In the state of Hawaii, the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) policy provides coverage to victims injured by negligent drivers without insurance or motorists without proper insurance to cover the medical costs and vehicle damages of the accident victim.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be eligible to file an injury claim against your UM/UIM policy for the injuries and damages caused by the hit-and-run driver. The UM/UIM policy also provides benefits for victims of hit-and-run accidents who are unable to identify the responsible driver.
Steps to Take if You Were in a Hit and Run
Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be difficult and unsettling. However, it is important that you remain calm and not allow your emotions to take charge. Also, the steps you take – or avoid taking – after the incident can have a huge effect on your insurance claims. Here's what you need to do if you were in a hit-and-run accident:
Get to Safety – Stay put and get to safety. Don't pursue the driver fleeing the accident scene.
Capture Relevant Details of the Vehicle – Take note of as many details as possible. Write down every detail you're able to remember. This includes the car manufacturer, color, model, and license plate number. Also, you can note any unique identifying marks on the vehicle, such as dents or bumper stickers.
Note Details About The Driver – Take mental notes of specific details about the driver, such as the driver's appearance, estimated age, gender, facial hair, outfit, eyeglasses, and other accident details.
Seek Immediate Medical Help – Call 911 to get prompt medical attention for your injuries. Even if you feel fine or don't feel any sign of injuries or pain right away, you should still seek medical evaluation later that day.
Look for Witnesses – Talk to witnesses at the accident scene and collect their contact information. You can also search for security cameras at adjacent parking lots or businesses that captured the incident.
Collect and Document Evidence – Collect and document available evidence, such as accident scene pictures, video footage, pictures of your injuries, and your personal account of the accident.
Inform the Police – Report the accident to the nearest law enforcement office or local police department.
Notify Insurance Carrier – Inform your insurance provider about the hit and run accident as soon as you can.
Hire an Attorney – Retain a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to help file your claims and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance carrier.
However, as you continue to delay, you may forget certain details or misplace vital documentation. Therefore, when involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important that you reach out to an experienced attorney immediately. Your lawyer can evaluate every detail of your case and determine the best way to proceed with your injury claims.
Get Legal Guidance Today
Hit and runs can cause severe bodily injuries, hospitalization, property damages, or make you unable to work. Especially when the negligent driver is underinsured, uninsured, impoverished, or never identified, filing a claim may involve several complexities. Therefore, if you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident, you need to act quickly and retain a highly-skilled personal injury attorney to help protect your legal rights and pursue rightful compensation for your injuries.
At Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, we have the resources, skill, and diligence to guide and represent clients in their hit-and-run accident claims. Using our in-depth understanding of laws addressing hit-and-run accident cases, we can help gather the required evidence to build a solid case and walk you through the overly-complex claims proceedings.
If you or someone close to you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may pursue fair compensation. Contact Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, today to schedule a simple case assessment with experienced car accident attorneys. Our reliable legal team can offer you the vigorous representation, support, and knowledgeable guidance you need in your personal injury claims. We're proud to serve clients in Maui, Hawaii, and nearby areas.