Hit and Run Accidents
An attorney helping injured motorists seek justice
A hit and run accident happens when a driver leaves the scene of the crash without following the proper procedure. Typically, when a car accident occurs, both drivers exchange insurance information and contact the police. The at-fault driver would be required to compensate the crash victim through his or her insurance company. However, when a driver takes off and can’t be identified, the crash victim must seek compensation from his or her own insurance company.
This process can be extremely frustrating and may leave crash victims confused about what course of action they should take. That’s why it’s important to discuss your car accident with an experienced attorney. With years of experience helping injured motorists, attorney Andras Szantho can help you explore all your legal options. Contact attorney Szantho today and find out how he can help you.
What to do after a hit and run accident
Drivers who leave the scene of a car accident often do so because they aren’t properly insured. Other times, they could be involved in criminal activity and may be attempting to evade law enforcement. If you're involved in an accident with a hit and run driver, don’t chase after them. You could put yourself in danger. Simply try to get his or her license plate number. You should also call the police and speak to witnesses. However, you should not leave the scene of the accident. Move your vehicle off the road and out of harm’s way if you can.
Hit and run drivers are often identified by street cameras and nearby witnesses. But in the event that the driver can’t be identified, you may need to file an uninsured motorist coverage claim with your own insurance company. New Mexico law requires insurance companies to offer this coverage to all drivers who purchase limited liability insurance.
You may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses needed to recover from injuries and future complications caused by your car accident.
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and other complications related to your accident.
- Loss of income, wages and future earning capacity caused by your accident.
Who’s responsible for compensating me?
If the driver who caused your crash cannot be located, your own insurance company is often responsible for compensating you for your hit and run accident. In such cases, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company to pay for your accident-related expenses.
However, if police can locate the driver who caused your crash, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That’s because New Mexico has a fault-based insurance system. That means the at-fault party is responsible for compensating injured crash victims.
Either way, your lawyer can deal directly with insurance companies on your behalf and demand the money you deserve for your injury.
Who investigates hit and run accidents?
Depending on where your accident happened in New Mexico, local police or members of the New Mexico State Police will likely investigate your crash. New Mexico State Police officers often investigate collisions that occur on interstate highways. Either way, the investigating police officer will create an official police report for your accident. Make sure this report is accurate and there are no errors. That’s because your accident report is often used by many others who then investigate your crash.
First and foremost, insurance companies often refer to the official police accident report when investigating hit and run accidents. And while you might think insurance companies put your best interests first, don’t be so sure. Insurance companies are businesses and often look for ways to save money, including reducing or denying your claim. That’s why it’s critical that you have a lawyer working for you and conducting an independent investigation of your accident.
How can a lawyer help me?
Legal cases involving hit and run accidents can be very complicated. When you have an attorney representing you, you can make sure the legal issues involving your crash are addressed. Whether it’s verifying the accuracy of your accident report or dealing directly with your insurance company on your behalf, your lawyer can be your voice for justice.
Many times, injury victims receive more money for their accident claim when they have a lawyer. Sometimes, lawyers do this by negotiating a higher settlement amount with your insurance company. Other times, attorneys take legal action on behalf of their clients. The bottom line is you often only have one opportunity to get the money you deserve for your accident. Your lawyer can make sure your claim gets the attention it rightfully deserves.
Don’t settle for anything less than your full recovery
While your insurance company is required to compensate you for any losses caused by a hit and run accident, they may not be as willing as you may expect to pay you. They might attempt to downplay your injuries in order to reduce their costs. They may even offer a small settlement that only covers a portion of your medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering.
You deserve better. Attorney Szantho can thoroughly investigate your hit and run crash. His approach often includes obtaining your detailed police report and medical evaluation. And if your insurance company refuses to pay for your recovery, he’s prepared to take them to trial.