Legal protocol dictates that all motorists carry insurance to compensate victims for any injuries resulting from their negligence. It also requires that all motorists remain at the scene of a car accident in order that a full investigation can occur, and the responsible parties’ insurance can compensate victims for any injuries and losses. The Washington DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) takes leaving the scene of an accident so seriously that, if a driver leaves the scene of an accident, the driver will have 12 points issued against his or her driver’s license, and their driver’s license will be immediately revoked. If you suffered injuries as a result of a hit and run accident, contacting a Washington DC hit and run accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, and help you with your next legal steps. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-959-1444 for a free case evaluation today.
Hit and Run Accidents
While being involved in a car accident is not necessarily illegal, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime under the law. In Washington DC, leaving the scene of an accident, also known as a “hit and run accident”, is technically referred to under the law as “Leaving After Colliding.” Additionally, if any victim suffers injuries as a result of a car accident, the other party must not only remain at the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives but also provide information that identifies them to both law enforcement as well as the injured party.
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Washington DC, call 800-598-7557
Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents
If the party that leaves the scene of an accident is ultimately discovered at a later time, they will face a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time up to 180 days for a first offense. A second offense carries with it a penalty of up to $2,500 and up to one full year in jail. The only possible reasonable excuse that a person could provide regarding leaving the scene of an accident is that they believed their personal safety was at risk, and they contacted 911 immediately after leaving the scene of the accident. Additionally, according to D.C. Code Section 50-2201.05c(a), the person operating the motor vehicle must have had a reason to believe or understand that their vehicle was actually involved in an accident. If a person can prove that they had no knowledge that they caused another party to suffer injuries in a car accident, they may not have the legal liability or charges related to a hit and run accident.
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Receiving Compensation Related to a Hit and Run Accident
If you suffered injuries related to a hit and run accident, and the police eventually find the other driver, you will have the legal right to pursue compensation from them personally, or from their auto insurance. You can file a claim for any physical injury or related medical expenses, psychological injuries, lost wages, property damage or pain and suffering.
If law enforcement never finds the other driver involved in your car accident, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses through your own auto insurance.
Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Claim
Washington DC requires that all drivers carry both uninsured and underinsured insurance, and therefore, you likely have this type of coverage under your own insurance policy. Your first step is to contact your car insurance company to review your policy with them and determine what limits and coverage you have related to uninsured or underinsured motorists. Because the other driver left the scene of the accident, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance company for any of your injuries and losses. Consider how a Washington DC hit and run accident lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you file a claim with your own insurance company to pursue the compensation you may deserve.
Insurance Company Tactics
While you may have to eventually negotiate with your own insurance company regarding a settlement for your injuries and losses suffered as a result of a hit and run accident, make no mistake that your insurance company will likely not have your best interests in mind. Insurance companies have notoriously malicious tactics that they use in order to manipulate victims in an attempt to create a basis upon which they can offer a lower settlement amount to victims. If you plan on negotiating with your insurance company on your own behalf regarding your injuries and losses, consider the following suggestions:
- Only provide facts, and never admit fault or speculate regarding any portion of the hit and run accident.
- Never discuss your injuries or indicate that you are feeling “fine” or feeling “better.”
- Never allow your insurance company to receive a full medical file, but rather only allow disclosure of medical information related to your accident.
- Never accept blame for any portion of the car accident.
- Never lie regarding anything related to the car accident.
- Never allow the insurance company to record your conversation.
- Never cash an insurance check expecting any more monetary recoveries. Typically, an insurance company will only ever issue one check to a victim for a settlement.
- Never accept the first settlement offer you receive, as it will likely not cover your injuries and losses adequately.
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Washington, DC Statute of Limitations on Car Accidents
In Washington, DC you have three years from the date of the accident or injury to bring your lawsuit, per the statute of limitations under Code §12-301. If you were the victim of a hit and run accident, you need to file a lawsuit for compensation before time runs out and the court bans your case.
Hit and run cases can be complex because the responsible driver fled the scene of the accident before you could get his or her license plate, name, or insurance company information.
Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at 800-959-1444 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys can investigate the accident and try and track down the at-fault driver while you focus on your recovery.
Consider How a Washington DC Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Can Help You with Your Case
Car accidents result in a great deal of anxiety and stress for victims, however, hit and run accidents have even more layers of complex legal issues and challenges. Find out how a Washington DC hit and run car accident lawyer can help you navigate these challenging legal issues and seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-959-1444 to discuss your case with a member of our team today.