Drivers may not stop at the scene of an accident for many reasons. They can have an outstanding warrant for their arrest, or they may have no car insurance. Regardless of the reason, failing to stop for an accident is illegal in Idaho.
Although you may have suffered an injury in the crash, you do not have to go without financial compensation if you have been the victim of a hit-and-run. Contact the Idaho car accident attorneys at Sargent Law Firm Injury Lawyers to learn more about how you can get a settlement check for your injuries.
Idaho Drivers Must Stop at the Scene of Every Accident
Idaho law severely punishes drivers who are convicted of a hit-and-run offense. The law requires the driver to stop at the scene of every accident, regardless of whether there are injuries or property damage. The same rules apply to car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents.
The severity of a failure-to-stop offense depends on whether there are injuries involved. If there are no injuries, failure to stop at the scene of the accident is a misdemeanor, which is punished by a one-year driver’s license suspension.
If there are injuries or fatalities, a hit-and-run becomes a felony, which can be punished by up to five years in prison.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, take the following steps:
- Contact the police immediately to have them come to the scene of the accident. You will need the accident report that documents the fact that the accident was a hit-and-run when you go to file an insurance claim.
- Document all the damages on your car through pictures.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident immediately.
- Get the necessary medical help to diagnose and treat your injuries; remember to stick with your medical treatment and follow all the doctor’s recommendations to receive full compensation
How Police Investigate Hit-and-Run Accidents
While you recover, the police will continue to investigate the accident and attempt to locate the responsible driver who fled. Law enforcement takes hit-and-run accidents very seriously since they are a crime. The police officer will begin by reviewing any evidence from the scene of the accident.
You may have seen the car that hit you and can provide the officer with a description. Witnesses may have also seen the crash and gotten a picture of the car or license plate information. If someone got part or all of the license plate, it might be less difficult to locate the driver.
Police may also review any video footage from the area at the time of the accident. They may search for cars that have evidence of an accident with paint that matches the one found on your car. If injuries were involved in your accident, police would investigate much more extensively, although they will pursue every hit-and-run accident to some extent.
You Can File a Claim Against Your Own Insurance Policy
You can still receive financial compensation when you have suffered an injury in a hit-and-run accident. Idaho law makes those who cause a hit-and-run accident legally responsible for the damages.
If you are unable to locate the driver eventually, you are not without legal options. Your own auto insurance company offers you coverage for uninsured motorists under Idaho law. You have the option to purchase this coverage in varying amounts, and you absolutely should.
Uninsured motorist coverage is automatically included in your policy unless you specifically reject it. Since more than one in every ten Idahoans drive without car insurance, you have every need for this coverage.
Your Insurance Company Is Equally Difficult
When you cannot file a claim against another driver’s insurance, you will proceed against your own policy. However, do not think that you will get any customer loyalty or decent treatment from “your own” insurance company. All claimants are treated the same way because they are a threat to the insurance company’s bottom line. Your lawyer will need to pressure the insurance company in the same manner they would if they were dealing with the company representing the other driver. If police locate the other driver before the claim is settled, you will then switch your claim to the other driver’s insurance company.
You Need a Lawyer for a Hit-and-Run Accident
It is every bit as important to hire an attorney when you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident. Even when there is no other driver against whom to file a claim or lawsuit, you will still need to negotiate compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will begin by placing a value on your car accident injuries.
Then, they will represent you throughout the claims process, keeping you from falling victim to the standard insurance company overreach. Otherwise, the insurance company will get away with quite a bit at your expense.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run in Idaho? Contact a Coeur d’Alene Car Accident Attorney
The car accident injury attorneys at Sargent Law Firm Injury Lawyers can work with you on all aspects of your claim. We know how to bring legal firepower to the table on your behalf when the insurance company is giving you the runaround. The sooner you call an attorney, the better your legal chances for getting full and fair compensation. You can reach out to us online or call us today at 844-SARGENT to schedule your free initial consultation.
Car Accident Case FAQs
How much compensation can I get for a hit-and-run accident?
It depends on the severity of your injury. You can receive money up to the full amount of your coverage limit.
What if I cannot agree on a settlement with my insurance company?
You can sue your own insurance company because they are legally obligated to cover the full scope of your accident damages.