Jackson Hit & Run Accident Attorney
Fleeing the Scene of an Accident in Mississippi
A “hit-and-run” occurs when someone leaves the scene of an accident before the other people involved can get their name, contact information, or insurance information. There are many reasons a person might flee the scene—they may not have any auto insurance, they may be intoxicated, or they may just be scared. However, there is never an excuse for failing to stop and provide reasonable aid to others involved in a crash. Not only is this incredibly negligent, but it is also against the law.
Unfortunately, the fact that fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime does not stop people from committing hit-and-runs. If you were injured in a car accident with someone who failed to stop and provide their personal information, it is critical that you reach out to an experienced attorney, like those at ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP. Our Jackson hit-and-run accident attorneys can help you understand your legal options when it comes to recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What Is Considered a “Hit & Run” in Mississippi?
Mississippi law requires anyone involved in an accident—including collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as single-vehicle wrecks involving public or private property—to stop at the scene. Specifically, they must stop and provide reasonable aid to others involved in the accident, as well as their personal contact and insurance information.
Failure to do these things after an accident constitutes fleeing the scene, more commonly known as a “hit-and-run.” Anyone found guilty of willfully leaving the scene of an accident without stopping and attempting to provide reasonable aid and/or personal information faces certain criminal penalties. These include hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines, as well as 30 days in jail or 5 – 20 years in prison for a felony hit-and-run conviction. Offenders may also face administrative penalties if convicted, including driver’s license suspension or revocation.
While these criminal and administrative penalties serve to punish offenders and deter others from committing hit-and-runs, they do little—if anything—to compensate victims. In fact, victims of hit-and-run accidents may find that they have relatively few options when it comes to collecting financial compensation after the crash.
However, although your options may be more limited after a hit-and-run collision than a standard car accident, you may still be able to recover your damages.
Can You File a Car Accident Claim After a Hit & Run?
Because Mississippi follows a traditional fault-based system (also known as a “tort” system) when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, most accident victims must file claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Their insurance provider is the one responsible for paying for your damages. But what can you do when the at-fault driver fled the scene without providing their insurance information?
Depending on the specific details of your situation, you may have several options for recovering compensation after a hit-and-run accident:
- Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company: If you have appropriate coverage through your own auto insurance provider, you may be able to file a claim and receive compensation without having to go through the other person’s insurance company. This is obviously helpful in situations where you do not have the other person’s insurance information. In Mississippi, all auto insurance policies must come with uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Unless you have rejected this coverage in writing, you are covered. You can file a UM claim after a hit-and-run accident and be compensated for certain damages, such as medical expenses.
- Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company: The only way to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a hit-and-run accident is by locating and identifying the hit-and-run driver. If the police are able to find the hit-and-run driver, you could be able to file a standard car accident claim with their insurance provider and recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
- Suing the At-Fault Driver: If the at-fault driver can be located and identified, but their insurance company disputes your claim, you may be able to sue them for damages. An attorney will be able to help you navigate this process. If you wish to sue the at-fault driver after a hit-and-run accident, we encourage you to reach out to our team right away, as you only have three years to file a lawsuit in most cases. If you wait too long, you will almost certainly lose your right to sue.
Our Jackson hit-and-run accident attorneys at ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP can help you understand your legal options. We are dedicated to securing maximum compensation for our clients and are prepared to do everything we can to help you recover the settlement or verdict you deserve.
What to Do After a Hit & Run Accident
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important that you try to get as much information as possible about the driver who fled the scene. First, however, seek immediate medical attention. Your health and safety come first.
Next, if you can, try to take pictures of their vehicle, including the license plate. If you cannot take pictures, try to write down any identifying features about the hit-and-run driver and/or their vehicle, including the make, model, color, and partial or full license plate number. If there are any witnesses who saw what happened, be sure to get their name(s) and contact information, as well as a brief statement.
You should also contact the police right away. If you are seriously injured or need immediate assistance at the scene, call 911. Make sure the police come out to the scene of the accident and file an official police report. Provide as many details as possible to the officer but avoid making any statements that could be construed as admitting fault. Do not exaggerate or downplay what happened; simply state the facts.
Another important thing to do after a hit-and-run accident is contact an experienced personal injury attorney. These cases are typically much more complex than standard car accident claims; it is important that you have someone by your side who can protect your rights and fight for the full compensation you are owed.
Contact ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP Today
At ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP, our Jackson hit-and-run accident lawyers are prepared to guide you through the legal process, providing personalized service and aggressive representation every step of the way. We are available 24/7 to take your call and provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your case and your future.