The attorneys at Casey, Devoti & Brockland handle multiple hit-and-run auto collisions every year — but reports show that countless more victims need our help. According to estimates by the National Highway Transport and Safety Administration, there were 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in 2015. This number translates to a hit-and-run crash happening somewhere in the U.S. every 43 seconds. However, many victims fail to realize that you can avoid the costs — a car crash attorney will use hit-and-run laws to your advantage.
A hit-and-run is a car crash in which the at-fault motorist causes damage or injury and leaves the scene without exchanging information. Often, this is because the motorist does not have insurance coverage or the funds to cover the costs of the auto collision. Regardless, it’s against the law to leave the scene of a crash — these negligent motorists often leave victims with a slew of medical bills, property damages and more.
Even without the identity of the person who harmed you, there may be hope for your case under Missouri hit-and-run laws. Missouri law defines an unidentifiable motorist as a phantom or uninsured motorist. In the case of a hit-and-run, you have no ability to get their identifying information, so your policy would categorize the phantom driver as an uninsured motorist by default.
Victims may use this to their advantage by filing an auto collision claim against their own insurance coverage. You may be able to receive compensation for bodily injuries, property damage and more from your insurance provider. Eventually, if law enforcement identifies the perpetrator, the insurance company may seek repayment from them through subrogation law. In the meantime, your legal team will work to identify the driver on your behalf and use hit-and-runs laws to your advantage.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run
The most critical element of a hit-and-run case is prompt documentation. If you are not severely injured, we advise you to immediately stop your car, pull to the side of the road and collect yourself. From there, call the police and wait at the scene. Keep in mind that it may be a while due to limited resources at the nearest police department.
Once they arrive, tell them everything you know about the auto collision. Describe the other vehicle, with details such as the color, make, model and even parts of the plate number. Using this, an officer will create a report for your case. We recommend asking for the police officer’s card and having them write down your complaint number — knowing this information will help your legal team collect evidence quickly.
After leaving the roadway, call your insurance company to report a hit-and-run without identification. It’s a requirement to make a prompt report to your broker or insurance agent and provide as much information as possible. However, the insurance company may doubt the validity of your case without witnesses. An attorney will be your most valuable resource in navigating the complexities of hit-and-run laws, identifying witnesses and collecting evidence for legal proceedings.
Working with an Auto Collision Attorney
Our goal as your legal team is to do everything in our power to track down the perpetrator and hold them accountable. If the incident occurred on a municipality or city road, we’ll often go to the scene and personally assist in the investigation.
We visit nearby businesses in search of cameras shortly after the incident. Using this method, we’ve previously captured plate numbers and other pieces of evidence for our clients. Response time is critical in these circumstances — many cameras record over existing footage after an extended time.
If the at-fault individual is identified, a criminal case will be held against them as well. Criminal and civil cases often run concurrently, so we will monitor the status of the criminal case on your behalf — a guilty verdict will benefit your auto collision case.
Have you recently fallen victim to a hit-and-run? Our attorneys are ready and willing to help victims find justice through hit-and-run laws, with or without the driver’s identity. Contact Casey, Devoti & Brockland to schedule a free consultation.