North Carolina Hit and Run Accident Attorney
As a responsible driver you know that if you’re involved in a crash you must remain at the scene, provide assistance to anyone who was injured, and exchange your insurance and contact information with all other drivers. But what happens if another driver doesn’t follow the law? How can you pay for all the repairs to your vehicle and your medical bills when the other driver flees the scene?
Being the victim in a hit-and-run accident is an exceptionally stressful experience. Not only do you have to deal with the physical, emotional and financial consequences that come with getting in any type of car crash, but now you’re left with the fear and uncertainty that comes with not knowing if you’ll get any compensation for your losses.
Here at Nagle & Associates we are committed to helping North Carolina hit and run victims achieve the best possible outcomes following a crash. We work exclusively on motor vehicle accident cases, and we represent victims throughout the state.
Why Do Some NC Drivers Flee Accident Scenes?
Despite the fact that leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in North Carolina and if caught, can result in jail time, every year thousands of North Carolina drivers are involved in hit and run crashes.
When there’s minimal damage the at-fault driver may not realize they hit another vehicle or they might believe the accident was inconsequential. However, the reality is that the majority of at-fault hit and run drivers in North Carolina flee the scene deliberately because they are often guilty of more than bad driving.
In many cases drivers who leave a crash without either providing aid to the victims or giving out their name, address and insurance information are:
- Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Repeat offenders who don’t want to face the legal consequences of their actions
- Driving without insurance, a drivers’ license, or both
- Driving a stolen vehicle
- Carrying illegal weapons, drugs, or a combination of the two
- In the United States illegally
No matter why a driver decides to run from a car crash, the fact is that as a victim of a hit and run, you have limited options when it comes to seeking compensation. In a typical car crash, the costs would be covered by the at-fault driver through their insurance company, but when you don’t know the identity of the other driver, you should seek legal advice from an experienced hit and run accident attorney right away.
Can NC Hit and Run Victims Get Compensation?
Uninsured motorist, or UM coverage is mandatory in North Carolina for all drivers. This insurance is designed to cover you in situations where you are in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, and it also extends some protection against hit-and-run drivers.
How Much Money Could I Get After a Hit and Run Accident?
If the at-fault driver can’t be located by the authorities, you could be eligible for compensation from your insurance company for both bodily injuries and property damage.
The amount of money that you may qualify for depends on your policy limits, which usually mirrors the coverage you have in your liability insurance policy. For example, if you have a $50,000/$100,000 liability policy, the most your insurance company would pay out for injury claims is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. If you Um coverage of the same amount, this means that you can only collect up to $50,000.00 from that policy for your injury claims.
In many hit-and-run cases, our injury lawyers are able to collect benefits from multiple car insurance policies. Under NC law, hit-and-run victims are allowed to stack coverages available under different insurance policies. More specifically, the crash victim can collect UM benefits from the auto insurance policy covering the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run accident PLUS also collect benefits from their own personal car insurance policy (if it is different than the one covering the involved vehicle) PLUS also collect from every car insurance policy held by any family member who lived at the crash victim’s address on the collision date.
Using UM coverage should not harm your coverage or raise your family’s car insurance rates. Also, keep in mind that even though this is your own coverage, the claims adjusters in these cases actually represent and defend the hit-and-run driver. Thus, they will work hard to minimize your injury claim payments. Please don’t place your trust with the insurance adjuster who is being paid to oppose your personal injury case.
Once the police have been notified and you’re safe, call our team of hit and run accident attorneys here at Nagle & Associates. It’s free to call us for a confidential consultation from anywhere.
Involved in a Hit and Run Crash in North Carolina? Here’s What You Need to Do
Every accident is stressful, and it’s common to feel shock, confusion and have difficulty focusing immediately after a crash. All those problems are made worse when you’re the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
As soon as you realize that the other driver has left the scene without leaving his or her information with you, record as many details about the accident and the driver as you can. Take plenty of photos of the crash scene and get the name and contact details from any witnesses in the area. Use a pen and paper to make notes or make a video on your cellphone right away because the longer you wait, the harder it can be to recall what you know about the hit and run driver.
Be sure to include:
- The color, make and model of vehicle that left the scene
- The licence plate number (if possible), or at least the state the plate is from
- What damage you noticed on the other vehicle
- Any details you can remember about the driver and his/or her passengers
- Other information that could help identify the vehicle, such as bumper stickers, custom rims or colored tint on the windows
- The direction the vehicle was traveling when the driver fled the scene
You truly should not attempt to follow a driver who flees the scene of a crash. Giving chase can further endanger you and other innocent parties. If you have a dash cam, be sure to save the file of the crash immediately as this could help the authorities locate the other driver and be powerful evidence to support your Uninsured Motorist insurance claim.
Call the local police right away and seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt. Once the police have been notified and you’re safe, call our team of hit and run accident attorneys here at Nagle & Associates. It’s free to call us for a confidential consultation.
What Happens If Another Driver Runs Me Off The Road?
North Carolina has a “No Contact Rule” – that means claims for UM coverage will only be considered if the claimants vehicle actually made contact with the vehicle that fled the scene.
For example, if you were forced off the road by an aggressive driver who never actually hit your vehicle and then kept driving after you crashed, you wouldn’t be able to make a claim under your UM insurance for the damage to your car or any medical expenses you incur as a result.
This law was put in place to prevent fraudulent claims against insurance companies, because it’s all too easy for drivers to have a crash and simply state that another driver ran them off the road. Thus, it is critical to collect and preserve evidence to confirm that the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle actually contacted the vehicle you occupied when the collision occurred. Without actual contact, the case is called a “phantom vehicle crash” and there is no coverage available for medical bills, lost wages or other injury related financial losses.
How Can a Hit and Run Accident Attorney Help?
Hit and run accident attorneys have extensive experience in helping crash victims get the compensation they need to recover.
What most people don’t realize is that insurance companies have a team of adjusters and lawyers who work to protect the company’s assets – that means these company lawyers do everything they can to avoid paying uninsured motorist claims. If they do offer to settle the claim, it’s often for pennies on the dollar. Insurance companies will not help you find reasons why they should pay you more money, and indeed they always seek to settle valid claims for far less than what is truly owed. Former claims adjuster Carl Nagle understands the tactics that your adjuster will use, and we know how to apply legal leverage to motivate the highest and best settlement offer in every case.
Call Our North Carolina Hit and Run Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run driver, call us here at Nagle & Associates. We’ll provide you with a free, confidential consultation to review your case, answer any questions you have, provide your best plan of legal action, and help you decide if hiring a lawyer is the right choice for you and your family.
Remember, there are strict time limits on when you have to file a claim for accident benefits in North Carolina. When you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run driver, be sure to contact the police, get immediate medical attention, then call us.