What Legal Options Do You Have After a Hit & Run Accident?

file0001323076736-300x163A Warwick man was charged in a hit and run crash Saturday night on West Shore Road after he fled the scene after hitting a motorcyclist with his SUV. Witnesses contacted the police, and the fleeing driver, 48-year-old Brian Larkin, was located and taken into police custody. Larkin was charged with duty to stop in an accident resulting in personal injury, and DUI serious bodily injury resulting. This follows a string of recent hit and runs in Rhode Island. A 65-year-old Central Falls man was the victim of a hit and run crash in April and died of his injuries. In May, a 63-year-old woman was killed in a Johnston hit and run accident. If you are hurt in a hit and run accident, how can you recover the damages you incurred if the driver who fled the scene cannot be found? You may wonder what, if any, options do you have? If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run crash, a Providence, Rhode Island car accident lawyer can assist you in exploring your options for recourse.

Actions to Take After a Hit & Run Accident

If you have been involved in an auto accident and the other driver has left the scene of the crash, you need to act quickly. Immediately make note of the description of the other vehicle, including color, type, and make and model (if possible) and its driver. Take down as many details as you can about the crash- location, time, and in what direction the other vehicle drove away. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses, their specifics of the accident, and what type of vehicle description they provide. Contact the police immediately and file a police report. Take photos of the crash scene and the damage to your vehicle or property. Contact any businesses or homes in the area that may have video surveillance of what occurred and the vehicle that fled. All of this will assist the police in locating the hit and run driver.

Finding the Driver That Caused the Accident

After a hit and run auto accident, the local or state police will make every effort to seek out the driver who fled the scene. Details provided by you and any witnesses are extremely helpful. Ultimately, if the driver is not found despite best efforts, there is no one to hold legally responsible for the accident. In this case, you will have to go through your own auto insurance coverage to recoup expenses, such as your uninsured motorist coverage, depending on what type of insurance coverage you have. A Rhode Island auto accident lawyer can advise you of how to go about this process and explore any other options you may have. A motor vehicle operator may flee the scene of an accident intentionally but may also leave the scene without even knowing they caused a collision. It is difficult to hold a party responsible in a “miss and run” crash, where one vehicle causes another vehicle to crash but without direct contact between the two vehicles. For example, if a truck crosses over into your lane and causes you to swerve to avoid it and in the process of swerving, you hit another car, meanwhile the truck has kept on driving, it is difficult to prove who is at-fault. The truck driver may not even be aware that they caused this crash.

Rhode Island Law Pertaining to Hit & Run Accidents

In the case of a driver who has knowingly fled after an auto crash, if found they will most likely be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, as well as other charges depending on what the resulting injuries are to the victim(s) or property. Rhode Island law states that the driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury to, serious bodily injury to, or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible, and shall remain at the scene of the accident until help arrives and a police report is filed. Motorists must stop too if they cause property damage, such as hitting a parked car or mailbox.  When involved in any type of Rhode Island auto accident, the driver of the vehicle must stop.

How Can a Motor Vehicle Attorney Help You After a Hit & Run Accident?

If you, or a family member, have been involved in a hit and run auto accident, seek the advice of a Providence auto accident lawyer. David Tapalian of Tapalian Law is a car accident attorney skilled in advising his clients of the proper steps to take following their motor vehicle accident. Tapalian Law will review the details of your case and decide if there is legal action to take. If the other driver is unable to be located, Attorney Tapalian will instruct you how to seek coverage through your own insurance carrier for your damages. Victims of hit and runs may be able to seek coverage if they have personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments, or uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage. When the other driver is found, you have much better legal recourse. The personal injury victim can seek restitution through the offender’s auto coverage. But what happens if the other driver is uninsured or under-insured? While you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the other driver, there is the possibility that the driver does not have any assets. An experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer like David Tapalian will advise you of the best legal recourse to take in your hit and run accident. Contact Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000 for a free consultation for your auto accident case, or contact us online.

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