Not all hit-and-run accidents happen on the highways around West Memphis. These collisions can occur in shopping mall parking lots, along the streets in town, or even in suburban neighborhoods. The person who leaves may be flustered by the accident or could be trying to avoid being caught for other violations.
No matter the circumstances, you need a West Memphis personal injury lawyer to help you understand your options. When someone has injured you or damaged your property and fled the scene, the team at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC will work tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve. Our skilled attorneys can develop a solid claim for your insurance company or against the one who wronged you.
Arkansas Legal Duties for Drivers Involved in an Accident
In Arkansas, drivers are required to perform certain legal duties after a crash. Failing to fulfill these actions can result in misdemeanor or even felony charges, depending on the severity of the collision. Following an accident, all drivers must:
- Stop and park their vehicle as close to the scene as possible without endangering anyone or blocking traffic. If necessary, they must return to the scene as soon as they realize there was an accident.
- Exchange their contact information, insurance details, and vehicle registration with all other drivers involved.
- Contact the police if anyone is injured or killed, or if the property damage exceeds $1000.
These duties apply whether a crash involves multiple vehicles or a single driver. Even if a motorist sideswipes a mailbox, they must contact the mailbox owner and provide their insurance and contact information. Drivers must also submit a report to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services within 30 days from the date of the crash.
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Damages You Can Pursue in a West Memphis Hit-and-Run Accident
There are two types of damages you can pursue after a hit-and-run accident. There are economic damages, which are items such as medical bills and car repair, and non-economic losses, which cover pain and suffering and mental anguish. You and your lawyer can compile a list of all the damages you have incurred and present them as part of your insurance claim.
Some common examples include:
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital bills for ICU, ER, and surgery
- Travel expenses for medical treatment
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium with your partner
- Medical devices
- Automotive repair or replacement
- Repair or replacement of personal items such as cellphones or computers
At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC, we will negotiate with your insurance company to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available for your injuries and property damage. If the at-fault driver who fled the accident can be located, our hit-and-run attorneys will handle the job of reaching a settlement with their insurance carrier. In the event we cannot come to an agreement, we can help you begin the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If you intend to sue the person who hurt you, it is crucial to act quickly. The Arkansas statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is only three years from the date of the accident. Gathering the evidence to support your claim takes time and expertise, so you should contact a hit-and-run lawyer in West Memphis right away, so you do not lose your chance to recover your losses.
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What to Do When You Are the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident
Suppose you are driving through a parking lot looking for a space. You see a driver backing out, so you stop your car a safe distance away to allow them to exit before you pull in. The driver fails to check their rear-view mirror as they back up, and they collide with the front of your car. Instead of stopping to examine the damage and exchange information, they drive away.
You may feel confused and stunned that someone could be so bold as to leave the scene of an accident. You are stuck with damage to your vehicle and what seems like no recourse for getting reimbursed. However, there are some steps you can take to help yourself and your lawyer begin a claim against the other driver:
- Call 911 and report the accident, giving the officers as much detail as you can recall. A description of the car and driver, as well as any license plate information you can recall, is a good starting place.
- Write down these details immediately while waiting for the police. Add anything else that comes to mind as you describe the accident to the authorities.
- Ask anyone nearby if they witnessed the crash. Collect their contact details and ask if they will stay to talk to the police on your behalf.
- Check if there are security cameras in the area. If possible, ask the owner of the cameras to check for video proof of the accident.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident but do not talk about settlements yet.
- Do not admit guilt or try to lay blame while speaking with authorities or your insurance company. Only share the facts of what happened.
- Seek any medical treatment and examination you may need if you are injured.
- Take photographs and video of your vehicle to record the damages.
- Take photos of the road and weather conditions.
- Keep a record of all your medical and automotive bills to support a damage claim.
- Start a pain journal of any injuries and suffering you experience.
After a hit-and-run accident, it is important to take care of yourself and anyone who is injured first, then speak with the police. If you wait to report the accident, you risk losing important details or the testimony of witnesses who could be useful in pursuing your claim. A skilled hit-and-run lawyer from the offices of Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC can listen to your story and help you understand the best course of action.
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Hit-and-Run Accidents and Insurance Coverage in Arkansas
Arkansas law requires all motorists to carry automotive insurance in the event of loss or damage caused by their own negligence. Drivers must carry liability minimums of:
- $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
However, when the other driver flees the scene, you may be left with no other insurance to file against. In this case, having an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy (which is optional and not required by law) can cover your damages and injuries. Even when you work with your own insurance carrier, you may face pushback from them to cover all your expenses.
Insurance adjusters are paid to reduce costs for their companies. They will try many tricks to claim that you are at fault, that your expenses are too high, or that your injuries are not that severe. Relying on an experienced hit-and-run attorney to negotiate for you can make the difference in getting a satisfactory settlement.
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Contact a West Memphis Hit-and-Run Attorney Now
Suffering injuries and property damage in a car accident is upsetting and painful. When you are hurting and the person responsible commits a hit-and-run, it can be overwhelming. Understanding how to proceed requires the help of the dedicated experts at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC.
Our team can provide a qualified hit-and-run attorney in West Memphis to assist you in locating the driver at fault and pursuing justice for you. Contact us using our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today.