A hit-and-run accident can be traumatizing. Handling the claims process related to your car accident is difficult enough when you’re able to exchange contact information with the other driver. But when the other driver flees the scene, the claims process becomes even more complicated.
Insurance companies impose additional reporting hurdles to overcome when the other driver flees the scene. Finding all insurance policies that provide benefits becomes more difficult.
Hiring a lawyer to help with these things can be a tremendous relief to accident victims. But how do you find the best hit and run car accident lawyer? With hit and run accidents on the rise in Florida and around the country, we’re going to share tips to help you find the right law firm for your personal injury case.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney for My Hit and Run Accident?
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Florida and additional charges could be filed if someone is injured in an accident. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in hit and run accidents will help you avoid pitfalls and handle the important elements of building your claim. Your accident attorney will do the legwork to help you obtain compensation at the levels you deserve and are entitled to under the law.
This legwork includes:
- Reviewing the police report and working with law enforcement: Police officers should work to determine the identity and whereabouts of the driver who fled the scene. Hit and run accident lawyers can work with law enforcement to secure the identity of the hit and run driver.
- Determine relevant insurance policies: When a hit and run driver leaves the scene you do not have an opportunity to gather car insurance information at the scene. The attorney can use various methods to gather that information for the fleeing driver and open the right claims based on the auto insurance policy coverage.
- Help coordinate medical attention: When you’re injured in a collision, the right medical care can be the difference between getting better and living in pain. The right lawyer will know the best specialists in your area to help you with your injuries.
- Handle your insurance company: Let’s face it – your insurance company is in the business of making money. It does not care about helping you with your claim. If your insurance company can deny your claim, it will. Many uninsured motorist coverage policies have specific clauses that will void your coverage if you do not report your hit and run within a very short period of time. A car accident attorney will know what pitfalls to look for so that your coverage does not get denied.
- Compensation for medical bills: In Florida, PIP insurance only covers the first $10K in medical bills. After that, you will need the insurance companies to cover your medical bills. Your hit and run accident attorney will look for additional insurance policies like uninsured motorist coverage. The right lawyer will get the money from the insurance company and then settle your medical bills for the best possible compensation result.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering: If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a permanent injury because of a hit and run driver, you will make a claim for that and other non-economic assets. This is a claim to help make you whole for what has been taken from you in the accident. The right lawyer will help you get both past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life damages.
It’s possible to handle your case on your own without an attorney. But if you’re not familiar with the laws, guidelines, and requirements, you may miss out on filing deadlines or additional compensation. If you were injured in a hit and run, finding an injury lawyer who understands car accidents can make a huge difference in how your case is handled.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for My Hit and Run Car Crash?
You might think that your accident isn’t “that bad.” Do you need to get a lawyer if you’ve been involved in a hit and run? Every case is unique, so we’re going to share some instances where an attorney could be very helpful.
Hit and Run Accident Victims
As the victim of a hit and run accident, you may want to consider getting an attorney who specializes in car accident cases if you’re dealing with any of the following:
- Injuries from the accident. Having all of your medical issues covered by your insurance policies can be challenging. Your hit and run accident lawyer can help navigate having claims filed for you by dealing with the insurance company.
- Property damage. The cost of having damage from the accident can add up. Even with insurance, you could be paying deductibles, co-pays, or co-insurance before any insurance company will start paying.
- Loss of use of your vehicle: It is not fun to be without a vehicle, especially in high commute areas like Tampa Bay, Florida. The right hit and run attorney can help you recover these vital benefits.
- Missing work. Taking time to recover or needing to be present while different repairs are made may mean time away from work. Those lost wages can add up quickly and you may be entitled to compensation for that.
- Pain and suffering. Some injuries don’t just heal and go away. Sometimes there are injuries from a hit and run accident that will take time to heal or continue to affect the victim for years to come. You may be entitled to compensation to cover the long-term medical costs or adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate your injuries.
Hit and run drivers who leave the accident scene could be charged with a variety of different things as well as face fines and jail time. If you’re being accused, it may be time to look into an attorney to help protect you and your rights.
- Protect yourself. Before speaking to the police about your case, you may want to consult an attorney to make sure you don’t say anything that could incriminate yourself or make the situation surrounding the accident worse.
- Punishment. A lawyer can work with you to get you a fair sentence based on the crimes committed.
With any accident, contacting an attorney immediately following your accident is best. The more time you let pass can make things more challenging. As more time passes, it can be harder to do things like gather evidence and find witnesses to assist with your case. This is especially true in a hit and run accident case.
How Do I Find Hit and Run Lawyers?
Finding a lawyer is an important part of your recovery process. But where do you find the right attorney for you? There are a few things you can do to help you find a hit and run accident lawyer:
- Ask for references. Talk to family and friends to see if they have any experience in this situation and know anyone who would be able to help you.
- Do your research. Spend some time online looking at the different personal injury law firms in your area (or the area where the accident happened) who have worked with cases involving hit and runs. Look at their websites to see what kinds of cases those law firms have handled and what kinds of results they’ve gotten. Look for testimonials on the website to see what results they’ve gotten for previous clients. See which law firms offer a free consultation with potential clients.
- Read reviews. You should be able to find reviews both on the attorney’s website as well as in other reputable places like the Better Business Bureau. Google the law firm’s name and reviews (Denmon Pearlman reviews for example) to see what other clients have said about working with the law firm. Some social media platforms also allow you to leave reviews as well.
- Meet with attorneys. Many personal injury law firms will offer a free consultation to meet with you to talk about your case. Providing them information about your case will allow them to let you know if they would be willing to take your case. Based on the information provided, the attorney may also be able to give you a broad overview of what they would expect to happen with your case.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Hit and Run Lawyer?
It can be so hard to make such an important decision when you’re stressed and struggling to deal with injuries and repairing property damage. Everything can feel very overwhelming. When you’re meeting with accident attorneys, there are a few things you should ask:
- The types of cases they handle.
- The kinds of clients they generally deal with.
- The experience they have with a case like yours.
- What costs are and how clients are billed.
- How and when you’ll receive updates.
- What they feel the outcome could be for your case.
How Much Will an Attorney Cost?
Every law firm charges differently. When you contact different attorneys for legal advice about your vehicle crash, be sure this is something that you ask about.
Starting with a free consultation is a good way to connect with an attorney and learn more about the fees that could be associated with your case. Every case is different and the attorneys will need to know some details about your case to be able to give an estimate of fees.
You should also consider the damages an attorney can help collect compared to what you may be able to get without an attorney. While it’s possible to navigate this trying situation yourself and get a small settlement, having a trusted attorney on your side could increase the settlement amount you receive.
Denmon Pearlman is a Tampa, Florida-based law firm that offers a free, no-obligation, legal consultation to victims of hit and run accidents.
Our team of Florida lawyers serving clients in the Tampa area will walk you through what steps you need to take before taking any legal action.
We will work to help you get the compensation you deserve for your personal injury case. If you’re involved in a vehicle accident and have been injured, contact our lawyers today for a free consultation regarding your case.