Missouri Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney
Any motor vehicle accident in Missouri can be traumatic and leave the driver and passengers with serious, life-threatening injuries. The situation gets worse if the driver responsible for the accident flees the scene to evade responsibility. Just because that person is nowhere to be found doesn’t mean you can’t get compensation for your injuries.
A hit-and-run accident can happen at any time and on any roadway. The other driver could be at the controls of anything from a motorcycle to a semi-truck. Often the driver evading responsibility strikes a pedestrian, not another vehicle.
How common are hit-and-run accidents in Missouri?
Hit-and-run accidents are increasing across the country, reports USA Today.
- About 11% of all vehicle accidents are hit-and-run crashes.
- Information on vehicle accidents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that the number of fatal hit and run crashes went up from 1,274 in 2009 to 1,449 in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
- This 13.7% increase in hit-and-run deaths over this time-frame happened while traffic deaths over all fell 4.5%.
- The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that hit-and-run accidents cause about 20% of all pedestrian fatalities, and 60% of hit-and-run fatalities are pedestrians.
Why do drivers leave the scene of Missouri hit-and-run accidents?
There are many reasons that a driver may leave the scene.
- The driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or was incapacitated by age or illness. He or she may not have realized an accident occurred or, fearing arrest, fled the scene.
- He or she was speeding and didn’t have time to avoid the accident. Fearing a citation or arrest, the driver left before the police could arrive.
- The driver may have had several citations or driving-related arrests. Commercial drivers may fear an accident will lead to a license suspension and prevent them from earning an income. To avoid a suspension or an arrest, they leave the scene.
A recent study by Leicester University commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Motor Insurance Bureau involved driver surveys as to why they left the scene of an accident.
- 45% of drivers would not have left if they knew that doing so broke the law.
- Younger drivers are more likely to evade responsibility, because they lack insurance, were drinking, feared the consequences of the accident or panicked.
- 6% of drivers aged 16 to 34 stated that nothing would have made them stop and report the accident, because they were determined to get away.
- Older drivers are more likely to leave if they don’t think the accident is serious enough to report to police.
What can you do if you’re involved in a Missouri hit-and-run accident?
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, there are steps you can take to protect your safety and help police find the other driver.
- If you’re not too injured and your vehicle is not too damaged, move it off the road so you won’t cause a hazard to other drivers and to avoid a possible second accident.
- Call local law enforcement. The earlier you contact the police, the less likely it is that your insurance company will suspect you were involved in a one-car accident but are blaming it on a driver who left the scene.
- Gather any information you can about the other vehicle. Try to talk to others at the scene who may have seen the vehicle or where it went. Vehicle descriptions, especially license plate numbers (even if only some of them are known), could be critically important. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Information you gathered may allow the police to quickly locate the other vehicle and its owner.
- Get examined by a medical professional as soon as possible, whether or not you’re aware of an injury. If you’re injured and not capable of leaving the scene on your own, take an ambulance to the nearest hospital.
How can you get compensation for injuries in a Missouri hit-and-run accident?
Missouri’s mandatory motorist insurance includes uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. This coverage provides some benefits if your accident involves an uninsured driver or if the driver leaves the scene. You would file a claim with your own carrier to get these benefits.
Given the high cost of medical care and the serious injuries that can result from a hit-and-run accident, these minimum benefits may not cover much. You should pay for as much extra uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford.
At Bley & Evans Trial Attorneys, we handle Missouri hit-and-run vehicle accident cases all the time and have represented clients with a variety of injuries, even families whose loved ones were killed in these accidents. We know how to best represent you to make sure you receive the full compensation you’re entitled to, and we’d love to start with a free consultation. Give us a call at 844-443-8385 to schedule yours today.