Ever been in a situation where you parked your car in a busy parking lot in Las Vegas only to find it had been struck by another car upon your return? You look around but there’s no one in sight and no witnesses to the accident. Your car is damaged, and you’re left wondering what to do next. You are not alone.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps you should take when your parked car is involved in a hit-and-run accident with no witnesses.
Assess the Damage and Gather Information
The first step after discovering your parked car has been hit is to assess the damage. Take pictures of your vehicle and the accident scene from various angles using your smartphone. These pictures will serve as vital evidence for both your insurance claim and any potential legal action.
If there are any security cameras nearby, try to identify if they captured the accident. Look for any potential witnesses or businesses with surveillance footage. In the absence of witnesses, this video evidence can help identify the hit-and-run driver.
Call the Police
After gathering the necessary information and documenting the scene, call the local police department to report the accident. Provide them with as much detail as possible, including the location, the time the incident happened, and the extent of the damage to your vehicle. A police report will be essential for your insurance claim and potential legal proceedings.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as you’ve filed a report with the police, contact your own insurance company to report the accident. Make sure to provide all the information you’ve gathered, including the police report. You will need to describe the accident, the extent of the damage, and the fact that there were no witnesses. Your insurance company will guide you through the next steps in the claims process.
Utilize Your Insurance Coverage
In situations where your vehicle is hit by a hit-and-run driver with no witnesses, your insurance coverage becomes crucial. Here are some key terms to understand:
Uninsured Motorist Coverage:
If the hit-and-run driver is not identified or doesn’t have insurance, uninsured motorist coverage can help cover your vehicle’s damages and medical bills.
If you have collision coverage, it can cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault.
Comprehensive insurance can cover damages resulting from non-collision incidents, such as vandalism or theft. Depending on your policy, it may cover hit-and-run incidents too.
Explore Legal Options
If your parked car was damaged by a hit-and-run driver, and you’re unable to identify the at-fault driver, you might consider seeking legal assistance. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you explore your legal options, particularly if you’re facing significant medical bills or property damage.
Identify the At-Fault Driver
In some cases, the police may be able to identify the at-fault driver through further investigation, especially if there’s security footage or other evidence. If the hit-and-run driver is identified, they may face criminal charges and be held responsible for the damages to your vehicle and any personal injuries you’ve suffered. This can be a significant relief for you, but it’s not always guaranteed.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If the hit-and-run driver is not identified, and you’re facing a financial burden due to your damaged vehicle and potential medical bills, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you explore legal options and guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if they are ever identified.
Your attorney may also help you with the following:
Filing a claim against your own insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Negotiating with your insurance company to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Gathering evidence to support your case, such as police reports, security footage, and any available witness statements.
Representing you in court if necessary, as some hit-and-run incidents can result in criminal charges for the responsible driver.
Seek Compensation for Damages
While navigating the legal process, you can seek compensation for various types of damages, including:
Vehicle Repair: The cost of repairing your damaged vehicle.
Medical Bills: If you suffered injuries in the accident, you can seek compensation for medical expenses.
Property Damage: Compensation for any other property damaged in the accident, such as personal belongings in your car.
Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages for physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.
It’s important to note that the legal process can be complex, and the outcome may vary depending on your specific case and the availability of evidence. This is where having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can make a significant difference.
Potential Criminal Charges for the Hit and Run Driver
When a hit-and-run driver who is responsible for causing damage to your parked vehicle is identified, they may face a range of criminal charges, with potential legal consequences. These charges are primarily related to their actions of leaving the scene of the accident without stopping to fulfill their legal obligations. The specific criminal charges and the severity of the penalties depend on various factors, such as the laws of the state in which the incident occurred, the extent of the damage caused, and the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of potential criminal charges:
Leaving the Scene of an Accident: Leaving the scene of an accident without stopping, exchanging information, or providing aid to injured parties is considered a crime in most jurisdictions. The severity of this offense may range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on factors such as the extent of the damage or the presence of injuries.
Criminal Charges for Reckless or Negligent Behavior: In some cases, the hit-and-run driver might face additional criminal charges if their actions leading up to the accident are deemed reckless or negligent. These charges can include reckless driving, reckless endangerment, or even vehicular homicide if the accident results in a fatality.
Fleeing from Law Enforcement: If the hit-and-run driver attempted to evade law enforcement after the accident, they could face additional charges related to fleeing or eluding the police.
Penalties for leaving the accident scene, vehicular homicide, and fleeing the police can include fines, probation, suspension of the driver’s license, and imprisonment. The severity of the penalties is influenced by factors like the amount of property damage, whether there were injuries, and whether the driver has a prior record of similar offenses.
The Exceptional Car Accident Attorneys at The Bourassa Law Group Can Help You Navigate Hit-and-Run Cases
Dealing with a hit-and-run incident involving your parked car and no witnesses can be a challenging and frustrating experience. However, by following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney, you can increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Remember, your insurance coverage, including uninsured motorist coverage and collision coverage, can provide financial relief in these situations. If the at-fault driver is identified, they may face criminal charges, which can further aid in your pursuit of justice and compensation. For the most effective guidance and support, seek a legal professional who specializes in personal injury cases.
BLG’s exceptional car accident attorneys can help you understand the best course of action in your hit-and-run cases to seek fair compensation. Book a free consultation call with us and let’s discuss your case. The road to justice starts here.
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