How To Handle Hit-and-Run Accidents in Missouri

December 16, 2020Car Accidents

Hit and runs are one of the worst kinds of accidents you can suffer in Missouri. The person who inflicted harm on you isn’t willing to step up and take responsibility for what they’ve done. Tracking down the at fault party to hold them accountable for your injuries depends largely on what you do following the collision. Here are the steps you need to take after a hit and run accident to help ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Immediately After the Crash

Before anything else, call first responders so that you can get the medical attention you need and police will arrive on the scene. Although this is a stressful situation, try your best to remain calm. Write down as many details as you can about the vehicle that struck you, including the:

  • Make, model, color, and any part of the license plate you can remember. (Even if you only recall the state it can be helpful)
  • Direction the driver was coming from relative to your position.

Also document the scene:

  • Write down the date, time, and location of the accident.
  • Take any photos you can of the scene. This can help back up your version of the events and may jog your memory. Capture the damage to your car from every angle, as it can be helpful in proving liability. For example, there may be signs of paint from the other vehicle.
  • Identify any witnesses to the accident and request their names and contact details.

The more information you have to give the police, the higher the chances of catching the at-fault driver. It will also help you justify your accident claim with your insurance company, and prove that it is not a fraudulent claim. If your car was hit while parked, still note the time you notice the damage and when you believe the accident occurred, the type of damage incurred, and the location of the collision.

Report the Accident to Your Insurer

Notify your car insurance company of the hit and run accident and they will advise you on the next steps for filing a claim. The state of Missouri requires drivers to maintain some form of uninsured motorist coverage, which means you should be able to file a claim under your policy for your damages. Before making a recorded statement, it is in your best interests to consult with a St. Louis hit and run accident lawyer. A St. Louis car accident attorney will protect your interests and ensure you have the evidence you need to obtain a fair amount of compensation.

Criminal Penalties for Leaving an Accident in Missouri

Missouri law mandates that drivers must stop after an accident and exchange their contact information and insurance details with the other parties involved. Leaving the scene of an accident in Missouri is typically a class A misdemeanor. The potential penalties are a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

When an accident causes serious injury to an individual, and the amount of damage to a vehicle is more than $1,000, the driver who flees can be charged with a class E felony. The same goes if it is not the driver’s first time leaving the scene of an accident. A conviction can be penalized with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to four years in prison. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident that results in a fatality, they can face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for a class D felony conviction. Additionally, their driving privilege will likely be suspended, since a criminal conviction in Missouri can add 12 to 16 points to your driver’s license.

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