Hit and Run Victims
Under Iowa law, you must remain at the scene of an accident, if possible, until you have exchanged information with the other driver or filed a police report. Motorists who hit unattended property such as a parked car or a fence must leave their name and information so they can handle the damage accordingly. However, some motorists choose to flee the scene of the accident instead, even if injury or death occurred due to the accident.
When a motorist causes an auto or pedestrian accident and flee the scene, it’s considered a hit and run. Unfortunately, drivers fail to remain at the scene for a multitude of reasons. They might not have valid insurance, be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or have a suspended or revoked license. Regardless of the circumstances, drivers who flee the scene of an accident should be held accountable for their actions by compensating the injured for their losses.
Even if the negligent driver cannot be located, there are still options you can pursue so you can recover from your losses. If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a hit and run driver, it’s within your best interest to gain experienced legal representation.
Hit and Run Accident Attorney in West Des Moines, IA
We expect our fellow drivers to follow traffic rules and remain at the scene of a car accident until information has been exchanged. Sadly, auto accidents involving hit and runs are much more common than you may think. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 11 percent of all motor vehicle accidents involve at least one driver leaving the scene. The statistics also indicated that around 1,500 people will lose their life to a hit and run driver annually, and 60 percent of these victims are pedestrians.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a hit and run accident, we urge you to gain legal representation with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. as soon as possible. Our skilled personal injury attorney, Gregory Landry, has been representing victims of hit and run for decades. He can investigate into every aspect of the accident, analyze issues that may exist within insurance coverage, calculate your losses, and will vigorously advocate for you during settlement negotiations or in court.
Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a consultation with Gregory Landry. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Des Moines area and surrounding counties including Polk County and Dallas County.
- Hit and Run Laws in Iowa
- Hit and Run Car Accident Statistics
- Does Insurance Cover Hit and Runs?
- What to Do If You’re Involved in a Hit and Run
- Additional Resources
Hit and Run Laws in Iowa
Iowa law requires drivers to do certain actions after an auto accident with another car, pedestrian, or unattended piece of property. The Iowa Code 321.262 states that drivers who are involved in accidents that cause property damage, injury, or death are obligated to stay at the site of the accident until they have provided certain information to the other parties involved or law enforcement.
That information includes:
- Name and address
- Vehicle registration number
- Driver’s license number
Drivers are also required to aid any possible injured victims due to the accident. This can come in form of arranging transportation for medical assistance or getting in contact with emergency services over the phone and following their instructions. Hit and run drivers who fail to exchange information or provide aid are not just susceptible to criminal charges. If someone was injured or lost their life because of the hit and run accident, the driver who fled the scene can be held liable for damages.
Hit and Run Car Accident Statistics
In 2015, the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety released a report of collected data from hit and runs across the country. According to the organization’s findings, there are at least two or more hit and run accidents happening anywhere in the U.S. every minute. While compiling through this data, the AAA Foundation also compared hit and run statistics nationwide over the last six years. Through this research, the AAA Foundation discovered that hit and runs have been steadily on the rise.
The table below compares the statistics for hit and runs over the last six years.
Hit and Run Crashes
Does Insurance Cover Hit and Runs?
Hit and run cases can be incredibly frustrating as you may never find the driver who fled the scene. If the responsible party cannot be located by law enforcement, then you may be able to instead file a claim with your insurance provider. However, to receive compensation for your losses, your policy will need to include one of the following types of coverage:
- Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage – This type of coverage handles medical expenses for auto accidents that occur with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or cannot be identified because they fled the scene of the accident.
- Collision Coverage – This type of coverage provides protection for any damage done to your vehicle, no matter who is at fault.
- Coverage for Medical Payments – If the policy provides coverage for medical expenses, then you may receive compensation for your injuries no matter who is at fault.
Your insurance provider should provide coverage if you have one of the above included in your policy. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will do whatever they can to minimize coverage to save money. That is why it’s imperative you don’t speak to your insurance without proper legal counsel on your side. A skilled attorney can negotiate with your insurance adjusters directly and maximize the value of your claim, so you receive full coverage.
Recover After a Hit and Run Accident with Ease
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a hit and run accident, then you’re likely in a stressful situation. You may be struggling with medical expenses, hospital visit bills, vehicle repair costs, all the while suffering with an injury or grieving the loss of a loved one. Thankfully, if the responsible party is found, you have the option to file a lawsuit against them for damages.
The claim filed against the at-fault driver would be on the grounds of negligence. As a plaintiff, you will have the burden of proving that the driver’s negligent actions directly caused your injuries or was the cause of your loved one’s death, and that you suffered because of it. This process is complicated, and any mistake could hinder or harm your case. For these reasons and more, we highly encourage you to hire an experienced personal injury attorney if you plan to file a lawsuit against a hit and run driver.
If the court rules in your favor, you will likely receive a monetary award based on your damages. These damages are the losses you may have suffered because you were injured or lost a loved one due to the at-fault driver’s actions. Some of these damages are easily calculable by the court such as medical expenses or hospital bills. Other damages, however, are a little more intangible, so they are more difficult to determine a value for such as pain and suffering.
Listed below are some common damages you may receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of enjoyment for life
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
What to Do in a Hit and Run
A hit and run accident can be traumatizing and extremely upsetting for some. If you are physically and emotionally able to do so, it’s best to take the following actions after a hit and run accident.
- Try and get the license plate number of the at-fault driver.
- Don’t leave the scene to chase after the other driver.
- Tend to your injuries the best you can even if they don’t seem serious.
- Notify law enforcement as soon as possible.
- Document the scene if you can by taking notes, photos of the accident, photos of the vehicle or your injuries, contact information for any eyewitnesses, and eyewitness statements. Only do this if you’re physically able to.
- Get legal help from a knowledgeable hit and run attorney in Iowa.
Research for Hit and Run Crashes – Visit the official website for the American Automobile Association Foundation to access a research brief for hit and runs. Find more information about hit and runs, how they’re compared state-by-state, and the trend of rising hit and runs.
Just an Accident STOP Hit and Runs – Visit the official website for Just an Accident STOP Hit and Runs, a non-profit organization that aims to lessen the number of hit and run accidents. Learn hit and run statistics, events by the organization and how to get involved.
Des Moines Injury Attorney for Hit and Runs in IA
If you have been victim to a hit and run, then it’s within your best interest to call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Gregory Landry, our seasoned personal injury attorney, has 30 plus years of experience assisting hit and run victims recover by obtaining fair and equitable monetary settlements. Don’t suffer a moment more because of someone else’s reckless and negligent choices. Call Gregory Landry at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today.
Set up your first consultation by calling McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the Iowa area including Polk County and Dallas County cities such as West Des Moines, Ankeny, Altoona, Polk City, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Bondurant, Windsor Heights, Alleman, Dallas Center, Perry, Adel, Waukee, Minburn, Redfield, Van Meter and Woodward.