It’s understandable to be confused and angry if you’re the victim in a hit-and-run accident. Car accidents by nature are traumatic experiences; however, if the guilty party decides to vanish and further neglect their responsibilities, it can make the experience much worse.
According to AAA, there are over 700,000 hit-and-run auto collisions every year. As a result, thousands of individuals are injured or lose their lives. In the event of a hit-and-run accident, as a victim, you may be wondering what your next steps are. While the process is a little different than it is when a typical accident has occurred, there is a process in place that will allow you the opportunity to hopefully find the guilty party.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
When any type of motor vehicle accident occurs, whether another vehicle, person, or inanimate object is involved, the present parties are supposed to follow certain procedures. Generally, those involved are supposed to stay at the scene, seek necessary emergency medical treatment, call law enforcement officers, and swap contact and insurance information.
In the event one of the parties leaves the scene prior to following the procedures listed about, they are committing a hit-and-run. In Missouri, a hit-and-run is often considered a criminal offense and is never anything less than a misdemeanor. The guilty party could be charged with a Class D Felony and face incarceration if they leave the scene of an accident that results in physical injury to another person, more than $1,000 in property damage, or if the guilty party has been convicted of a similar offense.
How Are Hit-and-Run Investigations Handled in Missouri?
After taking your initial statement, the police will begin an investigation into the hit-and-run accident in an attempt to find the guilty party. It is likely they will start by examining the scene of the accident. They’ll take photographs of your vehicle and the general scene – including any debris on the road and the weather conditions. There may be marks on the road that can give officers an idea of where the other party headed.
If there are any witnesses near the scene of the accident, they may be asked to provide information on anything they may have seen. If there are local businesses with security systems or highway cameras nearby, reviewing those videos can be incredibly helpful in determining the identity of the guilty party – so they can be held accountable for their negligence.
While the police will do what they can to find the guilty party, it’s also important to know what you should do after a hit-and-run accident in Missouri. You have the right to work with law enforcement and a legal team to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our Columbia, MO auto accident lawyer is prepared to help you understand your rights and seek the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free review of your claim.