Have you suffered injuries in a St. Louis car accident involving a hit-and-run driver? If so, you might be understandably angry and frustrated about bearing the financial consequences of another driver’s bad behavior. However, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses, even if the other driver cannot be found.
At Sumner Law Group, LLC, our St. Louis personal injury lawyers can help you understand your legal options after a hit-and-run crash and pursue the money you need from whatever sources are available. Our attorneys are ready to handle every detail of your case so you can focus on rebuilding your life.
Contact us today for a free case review with a hit-and-run accident lawyer in St. Louis, and we’ll tell you what we can do for you.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a motorist flees the scene after hitting another vehicle, road user, or fixed object. Not only is fleeing the scene dangerous, but it’s also illegal in Missouri.
Missouri law requires motorists to stop and remain at the scene of an accident that results in property damage, bodily injury, or death. According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, a driver must also:
- Offer reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the accident, including by summoning emergency services or arranging transportation to a nearby hospital.
- Contact local law enforcement to notify them of the accident.
- Set up road flares, reflectors, or flashlights to warn other motorists when accidents occur at night or in poor weather.
- Exchange information, such as names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, vehicle identification numbers (VINs), license plate numbers, and insurance details with others.
- Remain at the accident scene until law enforcement permits them to leave.
When drivers fail to adhere to these legal requirements, they commit a hit-and-run violation, punishable by stiff penalties. Nevertheless, some drivers choose to flee the scene. Common reasons for hit-and-run violations include:
- Lack of sufficient auto liability insurance coverage
- Driving without a license or with a license that was suspended or revoked
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, or other substances
- Driving with outstanding arrest warrants or other serious legal issues
- Lack of awareness of the legal duty to stop and render aid after a wreck
- Impulsive fight-or-flight responses to the stress of the moment
How a Lawyer Can Help If You Were Hurt in a Hit-and-Run
If you get hurt in a hit-and-run, you should contact a trusted lawyer for help immediately. When you have an experienced attorney advocating for you, they can help you by:
- Explaining your legal rights
- Identifying potential sources of compensation
- Calculating the potential value of your hit-and-run accident injury claim
- Conducting an independent investigation into the hit-and-run accident
- Working with private investigators and other experts to locate the other driver
- Communicating with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
- Obtaining medical records, crash reports, and other evidence for your claim
- Interviewing eyewitnesses who can provide unbiased supporting statements
- Working with expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists
- Managing essential case documents, details, and deadlines for you
- Preparing your claim and negotiating aggressively to maximize your settlement
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in St. Louis
When the other driver speeds away after a car accident, you might feel overwhelmed and frustrated. However, you can take a few relatively easy steps to protect yourself and your legal rights. You should do the following after a hit-and-run accident:
- Seek medical care immediately for any crash injuries you sustained.
- Resist the urge to speed after the other driver or leave the accident scene, which could lead you to be charged with a hit-and-run violation.
- Immediately pull over to a safe location and write down everything you can remember about the other driver, their vehicle, and the nature of the collision.
- Contact the local police to report the accident and wait for them to arrive.
- Collect as much evidence as possible, including crash reports, photos and video of the scene, and eyewitness statements.
- Contact our knowledgeable lawyers before you discuss your case with anyone.
Common Injuries in St. Louis Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run drivers often leave behind victims who have suffered severe or life-threatening injuries. Some common injuries from hit-and-run cases include the following:
- Head and neck injuries
- Facial and dental injuries
- Back and shoulder injuries
- Seatbelt and airbag injuries
- Abdominal and internal injuries
- Arm, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries
- Dislocated and broken bones
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Soft tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Leg, knee, ankle, and foot injuries
- Road rash and other burns
- Amputation and loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Partial or total paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Compensation Can I Get for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Normally, you would seek compensation for a car accident caused by another driver by filing a claim with their insurance provider. Missouri requires all drivers to carry specific minimum liability insurance coverage, which pays for injuries to others when the policyholder is at fault.
However, if the at-fault driver fled the scene and cannot be found, you will not be able to file a claim with their liability insurance provider. However, you are not without options. You should be entitled to compensation from your auto policy’s uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage pays for your injuries and property damage when the at-fault motorist is uninsured or, in the case of a driver who cannot be located, is effectively uninsured.
However, keep in mind that seeking fair compensation from your UM coverage can be complicated. Insurance companies will always prioritize their profits, so it’s a good idea to seek help from a reliable hit-and-run accident attorney who can represent your needs.
Contact a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in St. Louis
If you were injured by a hit-and-run driver in St. Louis, Sumner Law Group, LLC, is ready to help you seek the compensation and accountability you deserve. Contact our hit-and-run accident lawyers in St. Louis today for a free consultation.