When a car accident happens, it evokes a flight or fight response in those involved. When the flight wins, the driver flees the crash scene. If this happens, the fleeing motorist breaches the provisions of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Under sections 28-661 and 28-662, the person could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Although a hit-and-run is a criminal offense, the victim is entitled to compensation against the hit-and-run driver. Your Arizona hit-and-run attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit. However, some things must happen for you to receive compensation. For example, the police must have identified and arrested the at-fault motorist.
1. The Hit-and-Run Driver May Flee for Several Reasons
Arizona hit-and-run law provides that drivers involved in an accident must remain at the scene. If anyone is injured, they must provide assistance to the person while waiting for the first responders. If there was only vehicle damage, the drivers must exchange contact information.
However, despite these provisions, drivers still leave the accident scene. But they sometimes have reasons for fleeing, which may or may not be valid. For example, the driver might have been driving with an invalid driver’s license or had an emergency they had to attend to.
These reasons do not excuse the driver’s actions. As such, they will still face a criminal charge. Note that a hit-and-run is an offense “after the fact,” so it does not establish the driver’s guilt. Your Arizona hit-and-run attorney will have to prove their fault using the four elements of negligence.
2. Identify the Hit-and-Run Vehicle If You Can
The first helpful clue in identifying a fleeing driver is the vehicle they drove. Try to get the car’s license plate number, even if it is partial. Also, try to capture the make, model, year, and color of the fleeing vehicle, and note any damage the car might have. All these make it easier for the police to track down the driver. Sometimes, your memory of the vehicle may be all they have to go by, especially if there were no witnesses or video evidence.
3. Give Details of the Hit-and-Run Driver
While you may be unable to recall the driver’s face, there are some key features to note. Observe if the driver is white, Africa-American, Caucasian, or Hispanic. You also need to know their sex, have an estimate of their age, and their height too.
This information is crucial in case you don’t have the description of the car. It is also essential if the police arrest the driver and they claim their vehicle was stolen. If your previous description matches their DMV picture, you have the person you can file a claim against.
4. Speak With Witnesses
Witnesses are crucial in an Arizona hit-and-run case. The crash may leave you with severe injuries and unable to identify the car or the driver. But if there were witnesses to the accident, you can speak with them to know what they saw. If your injuries keep you from doing this, your lawyer can help you locate witnesses and find out what they saw. However, keep in mind that the police will do this too.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
The police may never arrest the hit-and-run driver or apprehend the motorist, but they won’t have auto insurance. In such a situation, what do you do? First, you need to rely on your insurance coverage. The relevant policy here is uninsured motorist coverage. Arizona law allows drivers to buy this policy. You use it to cover your injuries and losses where the hit-and-run driver is unidentified or identified but lacks auto liability insurance.
Hiring a lawyer is important, especially if the police find and arrest the hit-and-run driver. You need someone to follow the investigation and ensure the driver doesn’t pin the crash on you. Legal representation is also crucial if your insurance provider fails to pay your uninsured motorist claim settlement after filing.
Book a Free Consultation With Our Arizona Hit-and-Run Attorneys
As an Arizona hit-and-run victim, our legal team at Lebovitz Law Group can help you get maximum compensation from the negligent party. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us until we win your case. Contact us today for a free case review.
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