Left Behind: Catching a Hit-and-Run Driver
Traffic accidents are inconvenient at their best, and at their worst they can forever change the lives of those involved. Fortunately, the legal system allows victims to recover for their injuries, and helps people get back on their feet. In order for this to occur, however, victims need to know who caused their injuries in the first place. Hence, hit-and-run accidents are particularly problematic. Wisconsin has implemented a statute that gives drivers a duty to remain on the scene of a traffic accident. Sadly, not all drivers obey that duty. But, victims still have options for tracking down a hit-and-run driver and recovering—even if the driver cannot be identified.
Identifying the Driver
The ideal way to recover from a hit-and-run accident is to identify the driver and bring him or her to court. Traffic accidents can be disorienting, so this may be difficult. Therefore, immediately after the accident, a victim should try to recall any information about the fleeing vehicle. Vehicle specifics such as color, make, model, and license number are all helpful. Also, there may be witnesses on the scene who can help provide identifying information. In addition, some witnesses may have had the presence of mind to take pictures or video of the fleeing driver, which can be beneficial. Similarly, traffic cameras or other surveillance video may also help a victim identify a driver.
If you are run off the road or an accident is caused by a vehicle that does not make actual physical contact with you, the new “Phantom Motor Vehicle” law requires several things for insurance coverage following the accident to be considered:
You must have a witness who can corroborate what happened and the witness cannot have a claim as a result of the accident;
Within 72 hours of the accident, an accident report must be made to law enforcement; and
Within 30 days, you must file a report with your insurance company under oath setting forth the facts of the case.
Because of these very specific and extremely time-sensitive requirements, it can be critical that you promptly contact an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a hit-and-run accident to protect your rights.
Contact an Wisconsin Attorney
If you have recently been involved in a traffic accident, please contact an Appleton personal injury attorney or Green Bay personal injury attorney today. Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. has skilled attorneys who are ready to speak with you about your case. Our offices are located in Appleton, Green Bay, New London and Oshkosh.