I have been hit by a car... What do I have to do to receive compensation? 🤔
If you have been hit and injured, be prepared to fight and lose your patience no matter how much of a victim you are and no matter how much right you have to compensation.
Slight or serious. At fault or not. Hit-and-runs happen every day in our country.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run forget about getting help from the company of the responsible party. That's for starters. If for some reason the accident is controversial, more of the same. You will probably get a NO from the insurance company from minute zero.
If, as is usually the case, your injuries are serious, be prepared to receive (if at all) an offer for your damages that does not even remotely correspond to the damages you have suffered.
And this is only the beginning.
Because, in addition, this lack of information of the victims achieves the objective of the companies: that many accidents go unclaimed because the injured party believes that he/she is at fault.
But what is clear is that the legal help of a specialist injury lawyer is essential when you are faced with an accident of this type: the victim is vulnerable, and also always plays at a disadvantage against the company.
Why do the outrages occur?
Many accidents could be avoided. Is it always the pedestrian's fault? The driver's? Or both?
There is a bit of everything.
What are pedestrians doing wrong?
The prize for recklessness goes to crossing in inappropriate places, or doing so while talking or consulting your cell phone without paying attention to the traffic.
And this type of behavior means that insurance companies can say NO to your claim, no matter how many injuries you may have sustained in the accident.
Some of the accidents that are caused by some kind of reckless pedestrian behavior can be very serious.
And many of them go unclaimed: you get hit, you know you did something wrong (e.g., crossing outside the crosswalk), the company tells you they won't pay you because you crossed wrong, you are satisfied, and the company saves a lot of money.
What are drivers doing wrong?
From the moment we get behind the wheel, we are creating a risk for others, and it is our obligation to drive very attentive to traffic circumstances and with all five senses focused on driving.
Who hasn't had a child behind a ball and had to brake to avoid running over him?
Or how many times have we had to beep at a distracted pedestrian crossing at a red light?
Does that mean it is always the driver's fault?
But the driver may be contributing to increase this dangerous situation if he drives, for example, with excessive speed. Because that means that, if he had been driving at the right speed, he would have had time to brake and would not have hit the pedestrian, to continue with the example.
Speeding is behind many collisions.
Distracted or inattentive driving, too. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, of course. And it doesn't matter whether the accident is caused by a car, a motorcycle, a bus or a bicycle.
The result will be more or less serious, but the accident is the same, and the worst part is undoubtedly always borne by the pedestrian. In short: pedestrians and drivers are part of the traffic and circulation scenario.
They are definitely doomed to understand each other, for the good of all.
Mild or severe stroke? Do's and don'ts
We do not want to play down the importance of any type of collision because they are all equally traumatic for the victims.
Children and the elderly are still in the spotlight because they are the groups most often hit by vehicles, according to statistics.
The problem is not only that, of course, the consequences are not the same whether the accident has more serious or less serious consequences.
Because the difficulties to claim exist in both cases. The problem is how the companies behave when assessing whether or not to pay compensation to the victim.
It is obvious that they are interested in NO. That is why there are a series of guidelines that you should follow if you are the victim of an accident, whenever possible.
What NOT to do in a hit-and-run accident
This is especially important if you are hit by an accident that is minor.
Never leave the scene of a collision without having taken the details of the vehicle that hit you, even if you appear to be all right. Leaving the scene as if nothing had happened is a big mistake.
It is possible that, if the accident has not been of excessive importance, you may think that the initial pain that you have will pass quickly and tell the driver that "it was nothing, I'm fine".
And we refer to the evidence: in the heat of the moment it is easy to feel little pain or discomfort that you think will go away immediately. But wait until 12 to 48 hours have passed, because it is during this time when the painful symptoms begin to manifest themselves.
And in a very high percentage of cases, these injured people who think that in a while "they were going to be fine" end up in the emergency room.
And it turns out that, if it is confirmed that you have injuries, you will not be able to claim anything because you did not take the driver's data at the time.
Moral of the story: make sure you take all the data (license plate, name and surname, insurance company...) of the driver who hit you.
And if it turns out that it was really nothing, and you don't have to claim, we will all be so happy with the news and we will be very happy for you.
But if this is not the case, don't make the mistake of not taking precautions to claim if you are rightfully entitled to do so. The second thing you should NOT do is NOT to check if there have been eyewitnesses to the minor hit-and-run.
They will surely come to your aid.
So don't say again "nothing happened to me, I'm fine", because you'll make a mess. Ask for their names and telephone numbers. They will almost certainly give them to you. And they can help you, and a lot, if you then have to claim and the insurance company gives you problems.
We can assure you that, in this type of accident, witnesses have helped victims of minor accidents win their case against the insurance company thanks to their testimony.
What you always have to do
The objective is clear: to gather the necessary information that you will need to build the claim that needs to be made to the insurance company.
And as we know that insurance companies will look for a thousand excuses not to compensate you, you have to make sure that you can refute them with convincing evidence.
This is what you should keep in mind:
First: In the vast majority of cases, your best ally in keeping the insurance company from getting in your way on the issue of fault is to stay put.
For this reason, and although it is normal that you always go to the scene when there has been a hit and run, make sure you call her or they call her and do not move from the scene until they appear.
This sometimes happens with controversial collisions: for example, you say you were crossing on a green light and the driver says it was red, or you say you were crossing correctly and the other driver says you were crossing in the wrong place.
In these cases, it is necessary to resort to the courts and count on the help of an accident reconstruction expert, especially if the accident has been serious in terms of injuries and damages.
Second: eyewitnesses are always helpful.
We have already talked about them, the important thing to keep in mind is that a witness can become the key piece in winning an insurance company's hit-and-run lawsuit.
Third: the time of the first medical assistance is indispensable, and you must have it within 72 hours after the accident.
When the injuries are serious, this point is always met, because the victim is treated either by the emergency services at the scene of the accident or immediately in a hospital.
But... what happens when the injuries are minor?
Normally your thoughts will be "this will go away with a painkiller" or "with a little rest I will recover".
Well, it will be NO. And what will happen is that you let a few days pass and when you see that the pain increases you decide to go to the Hospital.
The result: if more than 72 hours have passed since the accident, the insurance company will not want to pay you a single euro for your injuries, even if you have a report from the Hospital that says that these damages are a consequence of the accident.
Moral of the story: even if you don't feel too bad after the accident, go to the emergency room immediately so that your injuries can be assessed from the very first moment.
And do not hesitate to go as often as necessary if your symptoms increase.
Fourth, seek legal help and contact a hit-and-run injury lawyer immediately.
By now you will have realized that you are not going to have an easy time claiming your compensation.
And the best way to make sure that the company will pay you what you are entitled to is to have the information you need, and to know what you need to do, how to do it from the very beginning, and to have a non-company injury lawyer defend your interests on your behalf.
Why are insurers interested in disputing your right to compensation?
If you have read other posts in our blog, you will already know that insurance companies are driven by a profit and loss account, like all companies. Some claims are compensated with others and everything is settled.
The victim is the least of it, of course. You are just a file number, period. The objective is to pay as little as possible. And you can be sure that they will try to avoid paying compensation, especially if it is a hit-and-run.
Why? First, because in a hit-and-run accident there are not two insurance companies (as if it is an accident between two cars, each one has its own).
Here, the insurer of the person responsible for the hit-and-run has to take care of all the indemnities, and cannot "compensate" with another insurer.
And that has a higher cost, so keep in mind that they will try as much as possible to find a way to compensate you as little as possible, or even deny payment if there is the slightest doubt about how the accident occurred.
Second, because let's not fool ourselves: statistics show that, in most cases, the victim of a hit-and-run accident suffers serious injuries.
And this means that the compensations are high, even very high in the case of major injuries.
With these conditions, it is easy to imagine how easy it is for the insurer to find a way to avoid payment, especially in controversial accidents or when there are contradictory versions.
All this that we have seen shows us how important it is to look for a specialist injury lawyer who is outside the insurance companies and can defend your interests independently.
In Perez Gurri Law Firm we have spent many years helping victims of accidents, minor and serious, with clear and disputed fault, in amicable proceedings and in court.
We can help you, inform you, advise you and defend you.
Contact Perez Gurri Law Firm for a free consultation without obligation, we want to work for you.
Visit our website by clicking here or call us at 305-661-1200.