If you have been seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in Connecticut, it is important that you speak with a local attorney to learn about the options that are available to you.
Suffering serious injuries in a hit-and-run accident can be a difficult ordeal in more ways than one. While you are prioritizing your physical recovery, you also need to figure out how to get your car repaired or replaced and the pain and stress of your situation can take a significant psychological toll as well.
Then, there is the matter of covering the costs of the accident. Under normal circumstances, you could file a claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Not only could you seek to recover your direct out-of-pocket costs, but you could also seek to recover your lost income and secure compensation for your non-economic losses (e.g., pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life).
Unfortunately, however, these are not normal circumstances. You don’t know who hit you; and, as a result, you don’t know what to do next.
Understanding Your Situation If You Have Been Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident
While dealing with a hit-and-run accident is indeed a difficult situation, it is important not to let your worries get the better of you. You have options available. And with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can seek just compensation for your losses. Of course, no outcome is guaranteed, and the circumstances at hand will dictate what options you have. But, generally speaking, there are ways that hit-and-run accident victims can seek to recover their losses. You need to explore all available options before you start making assumptions or make any mistakes that could jeopardize your recovery.
For example, as we discuss in more detail below, potential ways to recover your losses after a hit-and-run accident in Connecticut include:
- Conducting an investigation and identifying the hit-and-run driver
- Filing an uninsured motorist (UM) claim
- Identifying a third party that played a role in causing the accident
What Should You Do after a Hit-and-Run Accident in Connecticut?
Before we discuss recovery options, it is important to first discuss what hit-and-run accident victims need to do in order to protect their legal rights. If you do not take the steps necessary to protect your legal rights, then it does not matter whether you have a claim or not. So, with this in mind, what should you do?
1. You Should Prioritize Your Medical Care
First and foremost, you should prioritize your medical care. If you have health insurance, you can use your coverage for your accident-related injuries. Try to make sure you stay in the network and/or obtain referrals as necessary. But if you need emergency care, making sure you get the treatment you need should be your top priority.
What if I can’t afford my copays or my health insurance company denies coverage?
If you cannot afford your copays or deductibles, there are options available to you. For example, your lawyer may be able to send your health care providers a “protection letter,” which will allow you to continue treatment without paying anything immediately. Lawsuit funding (or “pre-settlement funding”) may also be an option, although we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney before going this route.
If your health insurance company denies coverage, your lawyer will be able to assist with this as well. Your lawyer can determine whether the denial is valid. And if it isn’t, your lawyer can fight for the coverage to which you are entitled under your policy. If your testing or treatment services are not covered for any reason, your lawyer can continue to evaluate your options for securing compensation through other means.
If I have an auto accident claim, don’t I need to rely on auto insurance instead of health insurance?
No, this is a common misconception. Your health insurance company might be entitled to reimbursement, but this does not affect your right to coverage. If your injuries appear to be accident-related and you decide not to pursue a liability-based claim for any reason, then your health insurance company has the option to seek to recover its payments from the at-fault party. But, it cannot seek reimbursement from you directly.
Should I use my personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage?
Potentially, yes. If you have PIP or MedPay coverage under your auto insurance policy, then you can utilize this coverage, regardless of who was at fault in the accident (and regardless of whether you know who hit you). Generally speaking, your health insurer will be entitled to subrogation under your PIP or MedPay policy, so using this coverage up front may save you from some hassle when dealing with your health insurer.
2. You Should Keep All Relevant Information
In order to pursue a claim for compensation, you will need (i) proof of liability, and (ii) proof of damages. While you can – and should – rely on your attorney to gather the vast majority of the evidence needed to pursue your claim, you can help by making sure you keep any relevant information you have in your possession as well. This means that you should:
- Keep any and all photos and videos you have on your phone from the scene of the accident
- Write down all of the details you can remember, including details about the vehicle that hit you
- Create a file where you keep all of your medical records related to your injuries from the accident
What if I didn’t take any photos or videos at the scene of the accident?
If you do not have any photos or videos from the scene of the accident, you do not need to worry. These can be helpful, but they are not critical. However, this will make it especially important for you to write down as many details as you can remember, and it also means that you will need to hire a law firm to conduct an on-scene investigation as soon as possible.
What kinds of details are relevant?
At this point, all details are potentially relevant. This is true in any situation, but it is especially true in the case of a hit-and-run accident. Any information you have about the vehicle can be helpful for tracking it down, and other details might be relevant to establishing third-party liability.
What if my insurance company is asking for my medical records or details about the accident?
If you reported the accident to your insurance company (which was the right thing to do), sooner or later, your adjuster will start asking questions. In order to protect your legal rights, you should politely decline to provide any additional information and let your adjuster know that your attorney will be reaching out on your behalf.
3. You Should Contact a Local Personal Injury Lawyer Promptly
Due to the complexity of your situation and the unique challenges involved in hit-and-run auto accident cases, you will need to speak with a personal injury lawyer promptly. You will want to choose a lawyer who has offices in your geographic area and who has particular experience handling hit-and-run accident claims.
Will I need to pay my lawyer out of pocket?
No, or at least you shouldn’t. At Berkowitz Hanna, we handle all auto accident cases on contingency, and we cover the costs of our clients’ claims while they are pending.
What if I cannot travel to a lawyer’s offices because of my injuries?
If you are too injured to travel, you can choose a lawyer who is willing to come to you. At Berkowitz Hanna, our attorneys routinely travel to meet with new clients throughout Connecticut.
Will a lawyer be able to help me if I don’t have the other driver’s information?
Yes, without a doubt. From helping you understand what you need to be doing to seeking just compensation on your behalf, there are many ways that an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you.
This list certainly is not exhaustive, but these are three of the most important things you can do to protect your legal rights. For legal advice that is custom-tailored to your personal circumstances, you should schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer near you as soon as possible.
How Can You Recover Financial Compensation for a Hit-and-Run Accident in Connecticut?
Why should you be taking these steps if you don’t know who hit you? The answer is simple: There are still various ways that an attorney can help you seek just compensation. As mentioned above, these include:
- Identifying the driver – We have several different tools and techniques that we can use to try to identify hit-and-run drivers. If the evidence exists, we can find it and we can work to hold the driver (or his or her insurance company) accountable.
- Seeking uninsured motorist coverage – If you have uninsured motorist coverage, we can file a UM claim on your behalf and seek the full coverage to which you are entitled under your policy.
- Establishing third-party liability – From vehicle defects to poorly-timed stop lights and missing road signs, there are numerous issues that can establish third-party liability in the case of a vehicle collision. If someone other than the hit-and-run driver is to blame for your injuries, even partially, our attorneys can fight to recover just compensation.
As you can see, there are options available, and you should not give up hope. To get started on the road to recovery, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation now.
Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation at Berkowitz Hanna
If you suffered serious traumatic injuries in a hit-and-run accident in Connecticut, our attorneys can help you recover. For more information, call us directly or tell us how we can reach you online. We will arrange for you to speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in confidence as soon as possible.