Being the victim of a hit and run accident is a stressful experience, especially because you have no information to identify the driver or the vehicle that caused the accident.
Fortunately, hit and run victims are still protected under certain schemes and have the right to make a personal injury claim if they have been seriously hurt in an accident.
Read on to find out more on how to claim compensation for hit and run accidents.
What are hit and run incidents?
After any kind of motor vehicle accident, there is a procedure that all drivers involved are expected to follow traffic laws. In most cases, drivers are expected to stay at the scene after the incident occurs, call for medical assistance if anyone is injured and reported the incident to the police. Hit in run incidents occur when the driver subsequently flees the scene.
What to do if you are the victim of a hit and run accident
Being involved in a hit and run incident can be traumatic, especially since you are left alone to deal with the aftermath of the accident. Take the time to calm yourself down and assess whether you have any injuries that need medical attention. Take note of all details at the scene of the hit and run and take down the contact details of any witnesses.
Report the accident to the police immediately. The sooner you do so, the more accurate your memory will be in describing the defendant. If you do remember the details of the car that hit you, you need to tell the police immediately, especially if you know their registration number.
What if the liable driver cannot be identified?
Fortunately, in most cases, there are enough witnesses and evidence for police to identify a hit and run driver. However, this is not always the case. Some hit and run victims do not have enough information to track down the driver which makes the process of making a personal injury claim much more difficult.
Hit and run victims still have the right to claim for personal injuries even if the identity of the liable driver is unknown. Claiming a hit and run is called a “Nominal Defendant claim” which is funded through a separate body which acts as a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurer to ensure that hit and run victims are still able to claim compensation for their injuries.
How can I make a Nominal Defendant claim?
It is best to consult with a motor vehicle accident lawyer so that you can maximise your personal injury claim. In order for a Nominal Defendant claim to be successful, you must be able to prove that reasonable “due enquiry and search” was undertaken. Some reasonable steps of enquiry include:
- Speaking to people who were close to the scene of the accident to see if they witnessed anything
- Obtaining any video footage (if available) that may have been captured of the accident
- Consulting and cooperating with the police investigation
- Reaching out to the public to come forward about anything they may know about the accident
The Nominal Defendant will still defend claims, so you may need to have your case heard in court before it reaches a settlement. In any case, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer to give your personal injury claim the best chance at success.
What will you be compensated for?
If your personal injury claim is successful, the compensation for a hit and run can cover a number of expenses related to your accident, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses (hospital bills, rehabilitation, prescriptions, etc.)
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Past and future care
- Psychological and physical suffering (non-economic loss)
You may need to provide documentation such as medical reports, payslips and bills, to prove that you have lost a substantial amount of money due to the accident.
How long will it take to receive my compensation?
A Nominal Defendant claim can take up to 18 months from when the claim was first received to reach a settlement. A good personal injury lawyer should be able to give you a rough idea of how your claim is progressing and when you can expect to receive your compensation.
If you have recently been the victim of a hit and run incident and would like to maximise your personal injury claim, contact Schreuders for a free consultation today.