Did you know approximately one third of all reported New Orleans car accidents are hit and run accidents?
Drunk drivers, drugged drivers, and drivers with criminal records are much more likely to flee the scene of an accident. If a selfish and cruel driver has left you the victim of a hit and run accident in New Orleans, don’t give up hope.
You have options, and you deserve to discover them.
The New Orleans car accident lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers have extensive experience with the following hit and run accidents in New Orleans:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Scooter accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Drunk driving hit and run accidents
- Wrongful death claims, in the event of a hit and run death
We’re ready to help you overcome these problems and get your life back on track. For a 100% free consultation, reach out now by calling 800-898-4877.
On the page below, we’ll explain what to do after a hit and run accident in New Orleans and how a car accident lawyer could help you recover.
Check out Louisiana State University’s statistics on hit and run accidents in Louisiana. In recent years, Louisiana has had an annual average of:
- 18,000 hit and run accidents with property damage
- 4,000 hit and run accidents with injuries
- 44 fatal hit and run accidents
There have been many recent hit and run cases in New Orleans. Earlier this summer, a motorcyclist was killed in a hit and run accident in New Orleans East. One week later in Tremé, a parked car was hit and then set on fire.
Additionally, hit and run accident numbers tend to spike each year when New Orleans celebrations for New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras bring more traffic to the city. New Orleans drunk driver hit and run accidents are unfortunately common during these festivities.
Are you looking for lawyers in New Orleans for hit and run claims? Wondering how to deal with hit and run accident expenses? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s tackle some important questions below.
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A hit and run can be devastating. Victims can feel hopeless, helpless, and stranded, wondering what police or lawyers can possibly do to help. Maybe it all seems futile, as if the careless driver has made their getaway and left you in ruins.
However, there are still ways to pursue compensation and obtain justice.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run accident, here’s what you need to do immediately after the crash:
- Move to safety. If you were in the vehicle at the time of the accident, check for injuries and move to safety.
- Remember the facts. Take note of the make, model, and color of the other car, even if you only see it as it is driving away. Try to write down the license plate number.
- Take plenty of photos. Get pictures of your car, the damage, and the surrounding area.
- Look for witnesses. Check if anyone nearby witnessed the accident. Ask for their contact information. Later, they can provide valuable testimony.
- Call the police. Dial 911 and tell them what has happened. NOPD will arrive at the scene to create an accident report. If you’re injured, they will also send medical help for you.
- Check surveillance cameras or any other cameras that might’ve captured the accident. NOPD and/or your car accident lawyer can help you obtain a copy of these videos. If your hit and run accident was caught on camera, we will find out!
- Call your insurance company. Let them know you’ve been in an accident and see if your policy covers hit and run scenarios. (Don’t be nervous about this step; by law, your car insurance rates cannot be increased due to you reporting an accident that wasn’t your fault!)
- Visit a doctor. If you were inside the vehicle when it was hit, you need to get checked for common car accident injuries even if you think you feel “okay.” Aches and pains can creep up in the next few days. If left untreated or undetected, these injuries could worsen or even become permanent. Always prioritize your health!
- Talk to a New Orleans hit and run lawyer. To learn more about your legal options for handling a hit and run, get a free case evaluation from a New Orleans car accident lawyer.
Will My Car Insurance Cover A Hit and Run Accident?
Louisiana law requires drivers to carry liability insurance with minimums of $15,000 in medical costs per person (or $30,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage. But does insurance cover hit and run accidents? It all depends on your specific car insurance policy.
If you cannot identify the other driver and you have uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage included in your policy at the time of the hit and run accident, it might pay for some or all of you and your passengers’ injuries and property damage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage exists to cover any accident caused by a driver who had no insurance or an inadequately low coverage limit. Hit and run drivers may be classified as uninsured motorists.
Additionally, check to see if you have collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for any accidental damage to your car. You can collect compensation from collision coverage whether or not you were at fault, but there is a deductible.
Remember, different policies have different limits. Some policies do not allow recovery for pain and suffering damages after a hit and run.
Note: If you were in a relatively minor hit and run accident without insurance, Louisiana’s “No Pay No Play” law may prevent you from collecting compensation. Luckily “No Pay No Play” does not apply if the at-fault driver broke certain laws and/or if you were legally parked when the accident happened.
For more help navigating the details of your car insurance policy, reach out to us for a free consultation. We’re here to help, and our experts are ready to discuss your hit and run claim!
Why Should You Call Police After A Hit and Run?
You are legally required to report your accident if there was death, injury, or property damage of $500 or more. But what about how to prove hit and run accident liability?
The New Orleans Police Department has a special hit and run division dedicated to investigating these cases. They can check databases such as the DMV for any identifying information available.
You should also call police to the scene of the accident as soon as you can because they will create an accident report, which can be valuable evidence. While sometimes it is clear who is at fault in a hit and run accident (for example, a hit and run accident with a parked car), an NOPD accident report can help prove liability to an insurance company.
To obtain a copy of a New Orleans accident report, visit the Louisiana crash report website and follow the steps. Before going to pick up your accident report in person, call NOPD at 504-658-5455 to confirm that it is ready and available.
Hit and Run Laws in New Orleans
Hit and run accidents have serious consequences for victims and drivers alike.
Section 154-384 of the code of ordinances for the city of New Orleans defines “hit and run driving” as “the intentional failure of the operator of a vehicle involved in or causing any accident to stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident to give his identity and to render reasonable aid.”
“Render reasonable aid” is the key phrase here. By law, drivers involved in an accident must stop, identify themselves, and help out. If a careless driver hits a person or a vehicle and fails to stop and provide reasonable aid, their negligence could be deadly.
Did you know a car doesn’t need to make physical contact in order to cause a hit and run? For example, let’s say a car suddenly swerves into a lane and a truck swerves to avoid it. If the truck hits a pole or another vehicle and the driver of the first car just keeps driving, this is still technically a hit and run.
Note: Louisiana hit and run laws apply to watercraft accidents as well.
When to Report Accidents
Anyone involved in a New Orleans traffic accident must report it if the accident resulted in the following:
- Property damage of $500 or more
- Vehicle(s) unable to be driven away from the scene
By law, you must provide your name, address, and drivers license number to witnesses and report the accident to the police.
Is A Hit and Run A Felony?
A hit and run is a crime that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If death or serious bodily injury is involved, it is a felony. If not, it is a misdemeanor.
Note: Louisiana Revised Statute 14:100 defines “serious bodily injury” as “unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.”
New Orleans Hit and Run Penalties
Causing an auto accident and fleeing the scene is considered a criminal offense, but hit and run accident punishment varies depending on the details of the crash.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor (like a hit and run accident without injuries) fines between $50 and $300 are typical, but prison time is also possible. Prison sentences could be anywhere from ten days to six months. Your license may also be suspended.
In cases of serious bodily injury or death, however, a hit and run is considered a felony. The hit and run driver could face a $5,000 fine and up to twenty years in prison, plus a suspended driver’s license.
All car accident claims in Louisiana have a time limit known as the statute of limitations. In Louisiana the statute of limitations is only one year from the day of the accident.
If you suffered injuries or property damage in a hit and run accident, you need to act fast. Speak with a New Orleans car accident lawyer as soon as possible. We are ready to give you a free consultation and find out how we can help you recover from your losses.
How can you begin to seek justice if you have no idea who harmed you? An experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer can conduct a thorough hit and run accident investigation to uncover all the available clues.
Here are some of the other ways a New Orleans car accident lawyer can help:
- Scheduling appointments and connect you to medical care
- Assisting with car repairs or rentals
- Investigating your hit and run accident
- Collecting evidence (see below)
- Determining liability and proving fault
- Estimating the value of your accident claim
- Writing demand letters and settlement packages
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Meeting deadlines for the statute of limitations
- Filing a lawsuit and representing you in court if needed
Evidence in A Hit and Run Accident
Determining liability is a major part of any car accident injury claim.
It’s also one of the most complicated—especially when there’s a hit and run accident.
If someone’s negligence caused an accident that left you injured, a New Orleans car accident attorney can help you prove it. We do this by collecting evidence including but not limited to:
- Photos – Use your phone to take photos of everything from multiple angles. Snap pics of your car, the surrounding area, road debris, street signs, etc.
- The NOPD accident report – Typically when someone calls 911 after an accident, police arrive at the scene and create an accident report. This crash report contains important evidence about your accident. To obtain a copy of the accident report, visit the Louisiana crash report website.
- Medical records and bills – In order to prove you sustained accident-related injuries and dealt with the related expenses, your New Orleans car accident lawyer can obtain copies of your medical records and bills from healthcare providers.
- Eyewitness and expert witness testimony – To support your insurance claim after you’ve been the victim of a hit and run, you usually need testimony from an “independent and disinterested witness.” In this context, “disinterested” is another word for “unbiased.” Additionally, as they conduct their investigation, your New Orleans car accident lawyer may consult expert witnesses like economists, doctors, or accident reconstruction specialists.
- Video surveillance – Did you know video from nearby businesses, dash cam footage, or traffic light cameras can be accessed during an accident investigation? This can be especially useful in a hit and run investigation! The state of Louisiana also allows traffic light cameras. A car accident lawyer can review all available video footage from numerous sources to find out how your accident happened.
- Proof of income – A car accident can cause you to miss days or weeks from work. This lost income can be included in your claim. Pay stubs, time sheets, and/or statements from your employer can be used as evidence to claim lost wages.
Keeping track of all this is tough. Without a lawyer, you risk overlooking important evidence. Don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve! For best results with a New Orleans collision settlement, call 800-898-4877 or check out our contact page.
We know you need help now, so we take all clients on a contingency fee basis. This means we work on your case at no upfront cost to you. If you don’t get settlement money, neither do we!
Additionally, we can help you avoid unfair settlement offers from the insurance company and maximize your compensation. If we help you win your case and settle your claim, we will deduct our legal fees from a portion of the final settlement amount.
Questions? Concerns? For a free case review, call 800-898-4877 or visit our contact page. Local experts are available 24/7.
New Orleans hit and run accidents happen every day, leaving victims feeling helpless and sometimes stranded. With all the stress and chaos, it’s no surprise you’re feeling overwhelmed with how to handle hit and run accident claims.
If you were hurt in a hit and run accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and much more.
However, the insurance claims process can be frustrating and discouraging, especially when fault for a hit and run accident still needs to be proven.
Don’t enter the battle alone. Contact a dedicated New Orleans car accident attorney today and we’ll keep you updated every step of the way.
What happens after a hit and run accident can change your life. Make the right choice, and get your free case evaluation right now by calling 800-898-4877 or visiting our contact page.
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Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.