Being injured in a hit-and-run accident is scary and stressful. When the at-fault driver was also under the influence, the situation became even more complicated. Drunk drivers who flee the scene add insult to literal injury. As a victim, you deserve justice and fair compensation. An experienced drunk driving injury lawyer can help you get it.
Hit-and-run crashes involving drunk drivers are more common than you might think. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 11% of all fatal hit-and-run crashes in the United States involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Many more non-fatal crashes also go unreported each year.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a hit-and-run drunk driver, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Legal options exist to hold the at-fault driver accountable and recover damages for injuries, lost wages, and other losses. An attorney can advise you of your rights and build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
This article offers an overview of hit-and-run accidents involving drunk driving and explains how an attorney can assist victims and their families in seeking justice. Key topics covered include:
- Investigating the Accident
- Building Your Injury Claim
- Maximizing Compensation
- Passenger Injury Claims
- Why hire a lawyer?
- Finding the Right Attorney
Investigating the Accident
In the U.S., regions like South Carolina are notorious for an increased frequency of such incidents. Here, the prevalence of accidents is influenced by factors such as heavy traffic, urban congestion, and, unfortunately, a higher incidence of drunk driving.
For individuals in states such as South Carolina, grappling with the aftermath of a hit-and-run requires a proactive approach. Hiring an experienced lawyer becomes crucial, given their ability to navigate the complexities of these cases.
A skilled attorney possesses both the resources and knowledge necessary to conduct a thorough and independent investigation, even when the at-fault driver is absent from the scene. This is especially pertinent in instances where critical evidence may be lost or overlooked. For those residing in Myrtle Beach, it is essential to recognize the importance of seeking legal assistance promptly. In the aftermath of a hit-and-run, seeking a drunk driving attorney in Myrtle Beach is a strategic move. This attorney brings not only legal acumen but also a nuanced understanding of local laws and regulations, significantly enhancing the likelihood of a successful resolution for the affected parties.
A seasoned lawyer possesses the resources and knowledge needed to conduct a thorough, independent investigation of a hit-and-run crash. An attorney can:
- Inspect the accident scene
- Gather witness statements
- Obtain police reports
- Review surveillance video footage
- Retrace the driver’s steps
- Examine vehicle debris and parts
A vigorous investigation by a lawyer can uncover facts and lead the police to miss. This establishes fault and gathers proof to hold the drunk driver accountable in court.
Building Your Injury Claim
In a drunk driving hit-and-run crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance typically pays accident claims. But with the driver’s identity unknown, how can victims access those benefits?
An attorney starts by sending a claim demand letter to the victim’s own insurance company. Most auto policies have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that applies in hit-and-run accidents.
If the driver is eventually identified, a lawyer can then make an injury claim directly against their auto insurance policy. Witness statements, accident reconstruction evidence, and other investigative findings help prove drunk driving liability.
To recover full damages, a detailed assessment of the victim’s injuries, treatment costs, lost income, and other losses is needed. An attorney will collaborate with doctors to quantify both economic and non-economic harm, such as pain and suffering.
Hit-and-run drunk driving accidents often cause severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and permanent lifestyle changes. Damages can easily exceed $1 million in some cases.
A lawyer knows how to maximize compensation by thoroughly documenting crash injuries and losses. Compensation may be available for:
- Medical expenses – bills from hospitalization, surgery, therapy, medication, and more
- Lost income—wages lost while recovering from injuries
- Loss of future earning capacity if disabilities limit work
- Property damage – repairs or replacement cost of a totaled vehicle
- Pain and suffering—physical and emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life—impact on hobbies, quality of life
Punitive damages may also be sought against a drunk driver to punish egregious conduct. An attorney can aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for all crash harm.
Passenger Injury Claims
Passengers injured by a drunk driver’s actions can recover damages, too. The at-fault motorist is liable for injuries to anyone in a vehicle accident they cause.
As a passenger, you may also have a claim against the driver of the vehicle you occupied, depending on the circumstances. Their insurance would owe benefits regardless of whether or not that driver was directly at fault.
An attorney can help you understand all potential sources of compensation as a passenger injured by an intoxicated hit-and-run driver. You deserve to be made whole again.
Why hire a lawyer?
Trying to handle a drunk driving hit-and-run claim yourself can seriously jeopardize the potential value of your case. These cases are legally and factually complex. An attorney has the power to protect your rights and build maximum leverage for a settlement.
The benefits of legal representation include:
- Risk-free representation – injury lawyers work on contingency fees
- Experience handling drunk driving claims
- Resources to conduct an independent crash investigation
- Negotiation skills to demand top-dollar settlements
- Litigation experience taking cases to trial if needed
- Understanding of insurance claim processes and laws
Don’t let an intoxicated hit-and-run driver escape responsibility. An attorney levels the playing field and fights for the full justice you deserve.
Finding the Right Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver hit-and-run accident, don’t delay in seeking legal help. Time is of the essence in gathering evidence and initiating claims. The best law firms assign dedicated teams of accident investigators and injury claim specialists to build the strongest case possible.
Look for an attorney with a proven track record of success with drunk driving injury claims. Ask about case results, settlement amounts recovered, and overall satisfaction ratings from past clients. You want an aggressive and compassionate advocate fighting by your side.
Learn more about your legal options and whether you have a claim worth pursuing. There are no upfront fees or costs to hire a lawyer for injury cases. You pay nothing unless your case succeeds.
Don’t let a drunk driving hit-and-run go unpunished. With an experienced attorney helping guide your claim, justice and fair compensation can be obtained. Start seeking the legal help you deserve today.
- What should I do after a hit-and-run accident?
Stay at the scene, if possible, and call 911. Seek any needed medical care immediately. Write down all accident details you can recall and any witness information. Take photos of the scene, vehicle damage, and your injuries. Call a lawyer as soon as feasible for help investigating the crash.
- Can I file a claim if I don’t know who hit me?
Yes. You can make a claim under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own auto insurance policy in a hit-and-run. Your attorney can also continue investigating to identify the at-fault driver. Witnesses, video footage, vehicle debris, and other evidence may uncover their identity.
- What if police can’t find the hit-and-run driver?
You can still pursue a legal claim and compensation. Your attorney’s independent crash investigation may uncover evidence the police miss. However, it becomes more difficult to establish drunk driving liability without the driver being tested or admitting to intoxication. Other legal strategies can still apply to seek damages.