A Step-by-Step Guide for What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

There’s a crisis affecting Louisiana pedestrians and the numbers show a disturbing trend. A dramatic spike in hit-and-run deaths has everyone on edge. 

New Orleans saw four hit-and-run deaths in 2020. A year later, there were seven. And last year the total doubled. 

What’s worse is that this trend isn’t unique to just New Orleans – or Louisiana for that matter. It’s a nationwide trend that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says has been steadily increasing in the last 15 years. 

A total of 7,388 pedestrians were killed in 2021, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have increased by 80 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2009 and now account for 17 percent of all crash fatalities. 

What is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident in Louisiana?

After an accident in Louisiana, every driver involved has a duty to stop and render aid if necessary. If the other party intentionally leaves the scene with no regard to the potential medical needs of the other party, like the name suggests it’s considered a hit-and-run accident. 

What is the Penalty for a Hit-and-Run in Louisiana?

The legal consequences of a hit-and-run will depend on the severity of the accident. As a general rule of thumb you could be subject to criminal charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony.

  • Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run: In a less severe violation – the accident caused no serious bodily harm or the urgent need for medical care – you’re looking at imprisonment of no more than six months and a fine not to exceed $500.
  • Felony Hit-and-Run: It’s considered a felony if the accident caused serious bodily harm or injury, and where fleeing the scene endangered the health of another. Louisiana law also says the driver must have known they were in or caused an accident and should reasonably know that death or serious injury was likely caused. Persons in this category are subject to imprisonment of no more than 10 years and a fine not exceeding $5,000. 

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

Whatever you do, don’t move. And definitely DO NOT leave the scene. If there’s one message to take away from this article, it’s that! These are the steps to follow if you’ve just been involved in a hit-and-run accident:

  1. Before you do anything else, call first responders so that you can get the medical attention you need. 
  2. Write down everything you can remember about the car that struck you, including color and model of the car, the vehicle’s license plate number, the direction the driver went, and a description of the driver. 
  3. Take photos of the scene, which will help back up your version of the events.
  4. Once you’ve been seen by a doctor, try to get a long-term prognosis so you know what type of long-term treatment may be needed. 
  5. Contact your insurance company and report the accident. Keep everything simple, factual and to the point. 

A Note on Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Normally when you’re involved in an accident, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will cover the ensuing expenses but if the other driver can’t be located, things get complicated. This is when having optional coverage that can help cover damages is worth it.

Uninsured motorist coverage is specifically designed to help with situations like a hit-and-run accident. It provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by you or the passengers in your vehicle as a result of an accident involving an uninsured driver or a driver who can’t be located. It can pay for medical treatment and ongoing care, lost wages, and other damages you may have suffered. You can tailor your coverage to have higher limits to protect yourself. And some umbrella policies also provide UM coverage. If you don’t already have this kind of coverage, it’s a good idea to add it before you’re in an accident. 

If you don’t have the required car liability insurance coverage and you’re in an accident, however, you cannot recover the first $15,000 for injuries and the first $25,000 for property damage. The “No Pay, No Play” Louisiana statute, passed in 2011, is in place to encourage drivers to purchase insurance.

Have You Been in a Hit-and-Run Accident? Contact Us Today.Do you find yourself in a scenario where you’ve been in a hit-and-run, don’t have uninsured motorist coverage and can’t find the person who hit you? We can help you understand your recovery options and take legal action based on the specifics of what transpired. If you wish to discuss your case in a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.