Being hurt in a car crash in Northern Arizona that was not your fault can be life-changing. Your stress and worries can quickly multiply if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident. However, you may be able to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries if you retain an experienced car accident lawyer who understands your options in these cases and can help you locate the negligent driver who fled the scene.
What Is Considered a Hit-and-Run Auto Crash in Arizona?
All motorists have a duty to stop at a car accident scene in Arizona. Under ARS §28-633, drivers involved in an auto collision causing someone’s injury or death, or property damage must stop at the crash scene and do the following:
- Provide their name, address, and the motor vehicle registration number
- Show their driver’s license to the other driver, passenger, or person struck if they request it
- Render reasonable aid to anyone injured in the car accident, such as calling for an ambulance
A motorist could be charged with hit and run if they do not stop at the scene. This crime can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on whether there was property damage only or a victim was injured or died.
Why Do Motorists Leave the Scene of an Auto Collision?
Unfortunately, drivers fail to stop at car crash scenes even when they know they risk being arrested for hit-and-run. Why do they do this? They are often worried about being in trouble for other reasons, such as:
- Being intoxicated due to drug or alcohol use and fear of being arrested for DUI.
- Driver’s license is suspended.
- Do not have car insurance as required under Arizona law.
- There is a warrant out for their arrest.
- The auto that they are driving is stolen.
- They do not want their employer to know that they were involved in a car collision
How Can You Protect Your Rights After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you prove that the driver who fled the scene caused your crash. Your car accident attorney can help you recover damages from their insurance company if the motorist can be found. You may be able to file a claim under your med pay and uninsured or underinsured insurance coverages if you purchased these coverages and you cannot recover your claim’s full value from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
You should remain at the crash scene even if the other driver does not stop or leaves the scene. Take these five steps to protect your rights and build a strong case:
- Contact the police. Call the police and obtain a copy of the police report. The report might contain information that can help you prove the other motorist’s negligence. The police officer may also help you locate the driver.
- Get contact information. Obtain the contact information of any witnesses who saw your hit-and-run accident. They may help you prove the other driver caused your crash and may have seen identifying information, such as the vehicle’s make or driver’s license number, that can help the police.
- Take pictures. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the crash scene, your injuries, and anything else you believe would be helpful. If you can, get photos of the vehicle that struck yours.
- Obtain prompt medical care. A doctor should examine you within 72 hours of the accident, even if you do not believe you were hurt. If you do this, you will protect your health and avoid disputes with the insurance company about the cause and seriousness of your injuries.
- Retain a lawyer. Hire a skilled car crash lawyer immediately. They will help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your case, locate the other driver, and go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve.