In Louisiana, a hit and run car accident is defined as an incident in which a driver involved in a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or property flees the scene without stopping to provide their contact information, insurance details, or to offer aid to anyone who may be injured.

Louisiana state law requires all drivers involved in an accident to stop at the scene, exchange information with the other party, and report the incident to the police, especially if there is significant damage or injuries. Failure to comply with these requirements constitutes a hit and run, which is a criminal offense in Louisiana, subject to severe penalties including fines and imprisonment.

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

A hit-and-run accident is an event where a driver collides with a pedestrian, another vehicle, or a stationary object and then leaves the scene without providing contact information or offering assistance.

This type of incident is illegal and carries severe penalties, as it demonstrates a disregard for the law and the well-being of others.

Victims of hit-and-run accidents may suffer physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens due to property damage and medical expenses.

Immediate Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident

  1. Remain Calm
  2. Move to a Safe Location
  3. Check for injuries and seek immediate medical attention.
  4. Call 911
  5. Gather Evidence
    • License plate number of the at-fault vehicle
    • Other vehicle's make, model, and color
    • Description of damage to the other vehicle (take photos if possible)
    • Which direction the other vehicle was headed
    • Photos of the damage to your vehicle Location, date, time, and cause of the accident
    • Photos and video of the location of the accident
    • Note any traffic cameras or surveillance cameras present on nearby businesses
  6. Look for Witnesses
    • Gather their names and contact information
    • Ask them to give a statement to the police
  7. Do NOT Follow the Other Driver Avoid chasing after the driver who flees the scene.

Why You Should Not Follow the Driver of the Other Vehicle

Departing from the scene of an accident may compromise your position, potentially causing you to miss valuable eyewitness testimonies. Additionally, this action might lead to confusion over who is at fault, as police evaluate the circumstances. Moreover, pursuing the fleeing driver increases the risk of further accidents or exposing yourself to danger, especially without knowing the other driver's state of mind or intentions.

Legal Steps to Follow After a Hit and Run in Metairie, LA

  • Report the Accident to the Police

    Immediately after a hit-and-run incident, it's essential to call the police and file a police report, providing detailed information about the event. This report is a crucial piece of evidence, as it officially documents the occurrence.

    The police may also conduct their own investigation, gathering evidence and witness statements that can support your account of the incident.

  • Notify Your Insurance Company

    When you report the incident to your insurance company, understand that they will require evidence of the hit and run to process your claim.

    Evidence can include witness testimonies—either from bystanders or passengers in your vehicle—or any physical proof of another vehicle's impact. This step ensures that the insurance company can differentiate between a hit-and-run claim and other types of accidents, like colliding with a stationary object.

  • Discuss Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage can be a critical component in hit-and-run cases, providing you with financial protection when the at-fault driver cannot be identified or lacks auto insurance.

    It's important to discuss the details of your UM coverage with your insurance provider to understand how it applies to a hit-and-run scenario and what evidence is needed to support your claim.

  • Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

    Navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run can be complex, involving legal and insurance claims processes that may be difficult to manage on your own.

    Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and the steps you need to take to pursue compensation.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

Hiring a personal injury attorney in Metairie, LA, for a hit-and-run case offers several benefits.

An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, ensuring that all necessary evidence is collected and presented effectively.

A personal injury attorney plays a crucial role in navigating the complex process of insurance claims and negotiations after a hit-and-run accident, ensuring that victims receive fair compensation for their losses. They have the expertise to conduct thorough investigations into the accident, utilizing resources to identify the at-fault driver and gather evidence to support the victim's claim.

By pursuing comprehensive compensation, the attorney aims to cover not only immediate medical expenses but also long-term damages and injuries that may not be apparent initially. They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and, if necessary, represent you in court to secure the compensation you deserve for injuries, damages, and other losses resulting from the accident.

A personal injury attorney’s knowledge and experience are invaluable in securing the rightful compensation for victims, relieving them of the burden of dealing with insurance companies and legal hurdles on their own.

What compensation can I receive from a hit-and-run accident?

In the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident, victims are entitled to compensation that can cover a wide range of losses. This includes reimbursement for medical bills incurred due to injuries sustained in the accident, compensation for wages lost if the injuries prevent the victim from working, and a monetary award for pain and suffering to address the physical discomfort and emotional distress experienced.

Each of these components is crucial in ensuring that the victim's financial and emotional well-being is restored to the fullest extent possible following the incident.

What if the hit-and-run driver is not found?

If the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified, victims still have recourse through their own uninsured motorist (UM) insurance coverage. This type of coverage is specifically designed to protect individuals in situations where the at-fault driver is either uninsured or cannot be located, ensuring that victims can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

By making a claim against their UM coverage, victims can secure financial support to aid in their recovery, even in the absence of the responsible party.

How long do I have to file a claim in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, individuals have a limited window to file a personal injury claim, with the statute of limitations set at one year from the date of the accident.

This means that victims must initiate legal proceedings within this timeframe to seek compensation for their injuries and losses.

Can I still receive compensation if I was partially at fault?

In Louisiana, you can still receive compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident, thanks to the state's comparative fault law. This law allows for the reduction of your compensation based on the percentage of fault attributed to you.

For instance, if you are found to be 30% responsible for the incident, your compensation will be reduced by 30%, enabling you to still recover 70% of the damages assessed.

How can LJBLegal help?

If you've been the victim of a hit-and-run, the clock is already ticking.

Evidence crucial to your case can quickly disappear or become harder to obtain, making immediate action essential.

Don't let the opportunity for justice and compensation slip through your fingers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers.

We're here to help you navigate the complexities of your case, ensuring that every piece of evidence is meticulously gathered and your rights are vigorously defended. Call us today at 985-240-9773.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Accident, injury, and disability attorney serving Luling, Metairie, New Orleans, and South Louisiana