What should I do after being in a hit and run accident in North Carolina?
In the event of a crash, the involved drivers are supposed to pull over, determine the necessity of emergency medical attention, and share contact information to report the accident to their respective insurance companies. If a driver flees the scene of an accident in North Carolina, it is considered a hit-and-run. Victims of such incidents need to know how to protect their rights and seek monetary recovery.
If you or someone you loved has been injured in a hit-and-run accident, reach out to a North Carolina car accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options. You may be eligible for compensation to cover your accident-related losses.
How Common Are Hit and Run Accidents?
A hit-and-run collision is defined as a crash where at least one person involved flees the scene before offering information, fails to help others involved, or does not report the crash. In moments like this is what makes having a dashcam in your car so great. Not only do hit-and-runs often have more significant financial impacts for the victim, but the risk of severe injury or death may be higher because of the delay or absence of medical attention to anyone hurt.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 730,000 hit-and-run accidents occur every year across the United States. That figure translates to a crash every 43 seconds. Thousands of injuries and fatalities occur as a result.
Victims of hit-and-runs are often left in dangerous situations without a way to seek help. This is especially true in lower-populated or rural areas. If you have been involved in a wreck where a negligent driver fled the scene, it is essential to be aware of your options and understand how to pursue the compensation you need to recover. Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers can help.
North Carolina’s Duty to Stop Law
In an effort to discourage individuals from fleeing car accident scenes, North Carolina law G.S. §20-166 states all drivers involved in a crash are required to immediately stop their vehicle and remain inside or nearby until police complete an investigation. Drivers are also required to exchange personal information and ensure anyone who needs medical attention is seen.
In the event a driver breaks North Carolina law and flees a crash site, they may be subject to misdemeanor or felony charges. Hit-and-runs are typically charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor when injuries suffered in an accident are minor. That charge is punishable by up to 120 days in jail and criminal fines. Felony charges may apply if the accident resulted in serious bodily injury or death, which is punishable by 10 to 41 months in jail, significant criminal fines, and license suspension. A guilty party with a previous criminal record could face even more significant consequences.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run
The actions you take in the minutes, hours, and days after a hit-and-run crash could have a significant impact on your ability to recover compensation for any accident-related losses. To handle the situation, consider the following steps:
Never follow a hit-and-run driver. Instead, ensure you are in a safe location, like the side of the road, and call 911. The sooner you call the police after a hit-and-run, the greater the chance of the police tracking down and identifying the fleeing driver. Try to remain calm when you call 911. Explain to the operator what happened, let them know if you need immediate medical attention, and give specific details on your location.
Once the police arrive, they will ask you questions about the accident. Remember to avoid speculating, and only report what you know for sure happened. If possible, give them details on the vehicle that hit you, as well as which way the driver fled. If you can provide any visual description of the driver, even better. The responding officer will file an official police report on the accident that you can use when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you physically feel fine after a hit-and-run, it is imperative to seek medical attention. Not all injuries are visible, and you want to ensure you receive an evaluation as soon as possible. If you feel as though your injuries are not severe enough for the emergency room, make sure you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible.
Gather Witness Contact Information
If any witnesses were present at the time of your accident, ask if they are willing to provide you with their contact information. Their statements could come in handy when you go to seek compensation for your losses.
Seek Legal Guidance
Depending on the circumstances of the hit-and-run, it can be a challenge to work with your insurance company to receive a fair settlement check. Instead of going back and forth with the claims adjuster, you have the option to seek legal representation. It is a best practice to always speak to an experienced accident attorney before speaking to any insurance company, including your own.
The attorneys at Auger & Auger are ready to evaluate your situation and help you determine how best to proceed to maximize your recovery. We will investigate the crash, collect the evidence needed to prove your damages, and determine a fair valuation of your claim. We will take into consideration medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other accident-related losses.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina
Car accidents are often frightening, but the situation is bound to get even more overwhelming if the other driver flees the scene. At Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers, our car accidents attorneys are aware of your rights as a citizen of North Carolina, and we are prepared to ensure they are upheld. The sooner you get in touch with our law firm after a wreck, the better your chances are of receiving full and fair compensation for your losses. To get started, schedule a free consultation today by calling (855) 971-1114 or filling out our online contact form.