Being involved in an automobile accident is a terrifying experience, even when both drivers remain at the scene. However, when you are the victim of a hit and run, you may feel scared, overwhelmed, and uncertain about how to seek compensation for your injuries. Talking to an auto accident lawyer in Houston, TX will provide you with the answers you need to determine your next move.
I Was the Victim of a Hit and Run: Can a Lawyer Still Help Me?
You may feel as if there is nothing a lawyer can do to help you if you were the victim of a hit and run. However, this is far from the truth, as working with an experienced auto accident lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. In addition, there are numerous ways a lawyer can help you following an accident where the other driver fled the scene.
They Gather Supporting Evidence
When you seek compensation from an insurance company to cover your injuries and property damage, you need evidence to prove your claim. This evidence proves you were injured in the accident and details the extent of your injuries. While you may think you have collected the correct evidence on your own, your idea of what constitutes evidence may not meet the standards set by the court or insurance adjuster.
When you work with a lawyer, they will compile the evidence that proves your claims and supports the facts of your case. Proving you were injured in a hit and run can require tedious legwork, such as collecting statements from healthcare providers and acquiring security camera footage of the accident. Your lawyer will compile the evidence needed to build a strong claim which allows you to focus on recovering from the accident.
They Handle Communications and Deadlines
When you’re injured, the last thing you want to do is worry about staying on top of the deadlines required to manage your claim successfully. Additionally, depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to handle the physical effort necessary to build a solid claim, such as tracking down witness statements and submitting them.
Missing critical deadlines or failing to provide documentation will destroy your chances of receiving appropriate compensation, so don’t risk your potential settlement by trying to do it all yourself. Your lawyer will ensure that the documents you need for your case are filed on time and respond to legal motions on your behalf.
They Know What Damages to Seek
When you are the victim of a hit and run, you may be entitled to numerous types of compensation, also referred to as damages. Determining what you should be reimbursed for is challenging, and you need an experienced lawyer to calculate the damages you deserve. The amount of money you require to cover medical bills, property damage, and missed time at work is simple to calculate.
However, when you start dealing with aspects of your life that are less quantifiable, such as pain and suffering, you’ll want a professional looking after your best interest. A skilled lawyer in Houston, TX, can also determine if your situation is eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are additional funds awarded to the victim to punish the at-fault party and discourage them from committing the harmful action again.
They Prevent Insurance Companies From Taking Advantage of You
Many victims of a hit and run will never reencounter the at-fault driver. In this situation, the victim’s only option for seeking compensation is through the insurance company. While ideally, insurance adjustors would be fair and understanding when proposing settlements to victims, that isn’t what usually occurs. Instead, adjusters will frequently make receiving compensation as complex as possible for the victim.
If you are seeking compensation without an auto accident lawyer, you’ll need to be prepared to navigate deceitful tactics, unfair settlements, and aggressive claim adjusters. Once you have legal representation, the insurance company must direct their communication to your lawyer. With your lawyer acting as a buffer, they will not be able to intimidate you into dropping your claim or coerce you into accepting an unfair settlement.
They Can Prove Liability
Sometimes the driver who hit you and fled is caught following the accident. Although the driver will likely face criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident in Houston, TX, you’ll still have to prove they are at fault for your injuries and property damage. In addition, if the driver is identified, the insurance company will demand proof of the other driver’s fault before they will begin negotiating compensation for your injuries.
You’ll need legal representation to prove that the other driver is responsible for your injuries, also referred to as being liable for your injuries. Proving the other driver’s liability requires a professional lawyer, as it is a multi-step process that requires extensive legal knowledge.
They Will Negotiate a Fair Settlement
As most automotive claims are settled out of court, it is unlikely there will be a jury deciding what compensation you receive. Therefore, negotiating with the insurance company falls squarely on your shoulders if you do not have a lawyer managing your case. Unfortunately, individuals who handle their negotiations personally often fall prey to unscrupulous insurance adjusters who offer deals that appear good on the surface but don’t give the victim what they deserve.
For example, an adjuster may push you to accept a settlement before the long-term effects of your injury are known. Or they may twist your words and attempt to blame you for the accident to avoid having to pay your claim.
They Will Go to Trial
While most automotive cases don’t escalate to the courtroom, some situations are complex and involve multiple parties and insurance companies. If your claim is complicated, settling outside of court may not be possible. Employing a lawyer with years of successful litigation experience offers you the best chance of winning the case and receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident in Houston, TX
Call the Police
First, you will want to call the police and report the accident. A police officer will come to the scene, take your statement, the statement of any witnesses, and write up a police report. They may also radio other officers identifying information about the vehicle that hit you and try to locate the at-fault driver. Don’t skip this step, as having a police report will make it easier to receive a fair settlement.
Accept Medical Attention
Don’t refuse medical care following the accident. For example, you may have back pain that you assume is a pulled muscle and deny medical care. If later you learn your back pain is due to a disc injury received in the accident, the insurance company may try to reject your claim since you refused medical care initially. There must be clear proof that you were injured in the accident if you wish to be reimbursed for medical care and compensated for pain and suffering.
Write Down Details
While the event is still fresh in your mind, write down every detail you remember of the moments leading up to the accident, the accident, and the moments following. If there are witnesses present, ask for their contact information. You’ll also want to take pictures of the scene with your cell phone if you are able.
Call an Auto Accident Lawyer
You’ll want to acquire legal representation as quickly as possible following your accident. Your lawyer will begin collecting evidence for your claim immediately and field any calls from insurance adjusters. Having a lawyer to look out for your best interest from the start will prevent you from taking any actions that could hurt your chances of receiving maximum compensation.
If you were the victim of an accident where the other driver fled the scene, you don’t have to clean up the situation by yourself. Our team is ready to pursue the compensation that is rightfully yours. Schedule a free consultation with Houston Injury Lawyers today, and let our team answer any questions you have.