Hit-and-run accidents present unique financial and legal challenges for those who are injured. When the identity of a negligent or reckless driver is unknown, it can be difficult to obtain compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and property damage.
Victims do have legal options, however, and here’s what you need to know.
What to Do after a Hit-and-Run
Immediately after an accident, it is imperative to seek medical attention for any injuries that you or your passengers may have suffered. Next, contact the police immediately to file a report.
To provide law enforcement the best chance at locating the driver, your report must contain a detailed account of the accident. It can be helpful for victims of hit-and-run accidents to jot down important information, such a description of the driver, the license plate number (or any piece of it you may remember), and the make, model and color of the automobile.
Take photographs, both of vehicular damage and injuries resulting from the accident, as they will be beneficial in establishing a legal case. If possible, take photos of the accident scene as well as any property damage that may have occurred.
Penalties for a Hit-and-Run in Idaho
State traffic statutes across the country require drivers involved in accidents to stop and exchange contact information as soon as it is safely possible. Drivers also have a duty to call for emergency medical assistance when necessary and to contact law enforcement.
In Idaho, drivers who fail to stop their vehicle at or close to the scene of an accident to exchange information or who fail to contact the paramedics or police — even if it’s not their fault — are subject to a felony conviction. Potential penalties include fines of up to $5,000, a sentence of up to five years in prison followed by probation, and financial responsibility for damages.
Obtaining Legal Compensation
When a driver flees the scene of an accident, the process of recovering damages can be complex. If law enforcement is successful in determining the identity of the reckless driver, you can file a legal claim to obtain compensation for injuries and property damage resulting from the collision.
In some cases, the driver’s insurance company may pay all or part of the claim. With some hit-and-run accidents, however, the driver cannot be identified or located. Victims in these cases may be able to receive compensation from their own insurance companies if they have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. An experienced accident attorney can help victims explore their legal options to recover damages.
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident, obtaining financial compensation can seem hopeless. Victims can pursue damages, however, and working with a personal injury attorney is the best way to achieve a successful outcome.
In Boise, contact the experienced lawyers at the Montgomery Dowdle Law Offices to schedule a free consultation. We are experts at dealing with and obtaining fair compensation for hit-and-run accident victims.