It’s one thing to get into a car accident. It’s another for the person responsible for your accident to leave you holding the bag. Hit-and-run accidents showcase both roadway negligence and a driver’s deliberate choice to ignore the duty of care they owe to other drivers. If you’ve been a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you can pursue civil action alongside our team.
But how do you report a Pennsylvania hit-and-run accident? It’s often in your best interest to contact both local law enforcement and a personal injury lawyer. With Morelli Law Firm’s expert attorneys and a detailed police report, you can challenge the negligence that resulted in your losses and demand compensation to restore your peace of mind.
Taking Action After a Hit-and-Run Accident
It’s not always easy to react to an accident when you’re the victim of a hit-and-run. However, when you have the means to take rapid action, you can make the days following your accident easier to bear.
Immediately following a hit-and-run accident, you and any passengers in your car can:
- Assess yourselves for injuries
- Contact the police
- Contact a car accident attorney
- Communicate with bystanders to better understand your circumstances
You should also contact your insurance provider within 24 hours of your accident if you want to file a claim for hit-and-run coverage.
If you choose to contact an attorney immediately following your accident, you can protect yourself from law enforcement or insurance companies that might otherwise misuse your recovery. These parties can attempt to turn any statements you make post-accident, including apologies, into admissions of fault. Our team can step in and prevent that misconstrual.
How Bystanders Can Help You Recover from a Hit-and-Run
Bystanders are not helpless in the face of a hit-and-run accident. While bystanders should never pursue a fleeing vehicle, they can take pictures of the license plate and later help you identify the party responsible for your losses. Make sure that you, your passengers, or an attorney get the contact information of people who were on the scene at the time your accident occurred.
The Benefits of Calling a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers cover a swath of cases, including civil hit-and-run cases. If you’re struggling with the logistics of how to report a Pennsylvania hit-and-run accident, our team can take over for you. We can help you by:
- Investigating who may be responsible for your losses
- Calculating the compensation to which you may be entitled
- Bringing your losses before a civil court
- Scheduling settlement negotiations or discovery between attorneys
- Protecting you from aggressive or non-cooperative defendants
Most importantly, we can help you file your complaint within Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §5542 limits your actionable time to two years, regardless of your injuries on the day of your accident. We can ensure you meet this deadline and can take action based on your losses.
Distinguishing Between a Criminal and Civil Hit-and-Run Case
As the victim in a hit-and-run case, you have the option of pursuing a criminal suit, a civil suit, or a combination thereof. Criminal suits allow you to request that the state of Pennsylvania press charges against the person responsible for your accident. These charges, established by 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3743, can include fines, license points, and even time in jail.
You can alternatively pursue compensation via a civil trial. Civil complaints give you the means to outline your losses and request that the person liable for your accident restore your fortunes. You can negotiate for a settlement or see your case brought before a judge.
If you choose to pursue both a criminal and civil case at the same time, you can use developments in criminal court to aid your purpose. An individual convicted of a criminal hit-and-run can then be held responsible for your losses in civil court. More specifically, you can submit a criminal court’s decision as evidence of negligence in civil court.
Pennsylvania Liability and Comparative Negligence
How you report a PA hit-and-run accident – and at what time – can change your right to compensation. Pennsylvania operates on a flexible understanding of comparative negligence.
With that in mind, you may have the right to pursue compensation for a hit-and-run accident even if you bear some of the responsibility for said loss. Pennsylvania allows you to take action so long as you claim that you bore less than 51% of the fault for your accident.
Some defendants may attempt to argue that you contributed more than 51% of the fault in your accident to avoid paying you damages based on your losses. We can counter these claims by presenting evidence of liability in court.
That said, any indication of fault can reduce the personal injury settlement to which you may be entitled. Say, for example, you receive a settlement for $100,000. If you’re held 50% responsible for your hit-and-run, you’ll only receive $50,000 of that settlement. With that in mind, you can collaborate with an attorney to refute any accusations of fault in your case.
Challenging Uncooperative Parties in Civil Court
A driver who flees from an accident may be uncooperative when summoned to civil court. You do not have to contend with that uncooperative behavior, though. Instead, you can let the justice system go to work for you.
Parties summoned to civil court have thirty days to respond to your complaint. Parties who do not answer your claim forgo their right to challenge the charges leveled against them. A courtroom can work with local law enforcement to bring a liable party forward, too, if it appears that they are avoiding their summons.
It is often difficult to negotiate a settlement with an uncooperative party. In these cases, your only means of securing compensation may be to undergo a traditional trial. Fortunately, our personal injury attorneys in Pennsylvania can stand with you throughout this process. We can represent your best interests and prevent the liable party from disrupting proceedings.
Let’s Overcome Your Hit-and-Run Accident Together
Hit-and-run accidents represent a form of deliberate roadway negligence. Victims of hit-and-run accidents can subsequently bring evidence of that negligence to civil court. Don’t resign yourself to post-accident bills when you can take civil action, instead. Morelli Law Firm’s car accident lawyers can give you the tools you need to fight for financial support.
If you don’t know how to report a hit-and-run accident in Pennsylvania, you can contact our team for legal guidance. Request a case evaluation over the phone or through our website once you’re ready to take action.