A car accident is one of the scariest moments in anyone’s life. It can cause permanent physical injuries and lasting emotional scars. What makes a car accident even worse is when the at fault driver leaves you to deal with the aftermath and foot the bill. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are common in densely populated areas, such as Washington D.C. In 2015 there were almost 5,000 hit and run accidents in the district. You may feel alone and overwhelmed. In addition to physical injuries and even dealing with grief, you also have to answer all the unknowns – when will I be able to return to work? Can I afford a rental car while mine is being repaired? How will we catch the driver who hit me? How will I pay for the medical expenses that are piling up?
There is good news – you don’t have to walk through this process alone. The attorneys at Regan Zambri Long are hands-on lawyers who will not only passionately fight for your rights in the courtroom, but help guide you through this journey every step of the way. They will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus on getting your life back on track. Past clients agree that you are treated like family at Regan Zambri Long. You can trust the expertise of our attorneys, which will reduce the enormous stress following a hit and run car accident. Consultations are free and the attorneys do not collect a fee unless a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor.
What are the common causes of car accidents in Washington D.C.?
According to the DMV, Washington D.C., which is only 68 square miles, has over 350,000 registered vehicles. Thousands of cars pour in everyday for tourism, political engagements, and work. What happens when a large number of cars drive in a small area? That’s right – a large number of car accidents. In 2015 alone, there were over 24,000 crashes in the district. The main cause of crashes is distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes your focus off the road, like eating, putting on makeup, talking to a passenger, or trying to use your navigation system. The biggest culprit of distracted driving, however, is using your cell phone. Texting while driving is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Another cause of hit and run accidents in Washington D.C. is drowsy driving. Washington D.C.’s truck routes extend out to Virginia and Maryland, which are truck route hubs. Truck drivers are unfortunately known to drive while drowsy in order to make deadlines on deliveries. Drowsy driving slows reaction times, and causes drivers to fall asleep at the wheel, which can result in deadly crashes. Other common causes of car accidents are drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving, poor weather, poor conditions on the road, and vehicle defects.
Why would a driver flee the scene of an accident?
One of the main reasons a hit and run driver flees the scene of an accident is because they were drinking and driving. Washington D.C. has very strict laws regarding driving while intoxicated, including up to 90 days in jail, fines, and a revoked license. Another reason people leave the scene of a car accident is if they are driving without a valid license, or driving without insurance. Washington D.C. fell into the top ten jurisdictions in the United States of people who drive without insurance in 2019. The driver may know they cannot pay for the damages without insurance coverage, so they decide to run instead. Sometimes drivers flee because they have illegal drugs in their car, or are driving a stolen or borrowed car. There are even drivers who do not stop at the scene of the accident because they don’t believe the accident was their fault. This is why it is essential that you remain where you are following the accident. Even if it was clearly not your fault, leaving the scene of an accident, for any reason, is a crime in Washington D.C.
What should I do if I was injured in a hit and run accident?
It’s common to be in a state of shock right after being involved in a car accident. Adrenaline pumps through your body and puts you into “fight or flight mode,” which is how humans respond to very stressful events. This response is involuntary, but it’s important to know that it can mask the pain from injuries. So, the most important thing to do following a hit and run car accident is pull over and stop the vehicle. Do not try to chase after the car that hit you. It can be dangerous to confront the driver and if you leave the scene too, it will be more difficult to prove who was at fault for the accident.
The second step is to call the police, especially if there are visible injuries that need immediate care. The police will be able to get the medical assistant you need and begin to investigate the scene of the accident. They will speak to any eye witnesses and generate a police report, which will be very important in your claim. If you speak to any witnesses, make sure to take down their contact information. Their testimony may be helpful during the claims process.
Next, you need to gather evidence. Take note of where the accident occurred and check to see if there are any security cameras that may have captured the accident. If you were able to get a glance at the car that hit you, write down the color of the car, the make and model, and the license plate number. Note what direction the car was headed in, or if you think it had any damage from the accident. For example, if the car hit you from behind, tell the police officers that they will look for a car that will most likely have damages on its front bumper. Be sure to include all information from eye witnesses, as well.
When you get home, you will need to contact your insurance company to begin the process of filing a claim. The statute of limitations to file a claim after a hit and run accident is three years. This may seem like a long time, but it’s always better to file a claim quickly so that facts and memories are fresh in your mind. Medical bills pile up quickly following a car accident, so the earlier you file a claim, the earlier you can receive compensation to help offset medical and property damage costs.
Finally, you should contact an experienced hit and run lawyer at Regan Zambri Long to help guide you through the personal injury claim process. Insurance companies are not known for handling claims in the best interest of their clients. After reporting the accident to your insurance agency, you will then speak to an adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to save as much money as possible for the insurance company. Many adjusters use manipulation tactics to keep compensation very low. The Regan Zambri Long attorneys understand the ins and outs of various insurance policies, and are experts in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland laws. They will work diligently to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your case and help guide you to financial recovery. Call 202-960- 4596 for your free consultation and to discuss your legal options.
What makes Regan Zambri Long hit and run accident lawyers stand out in Washington D.C.?
Regan Zambri Long lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience and have secured over $400 million for their clients throughout the years. They understand that they are meeting their clients during a time of intense stress and emotional trauma–that everything has changed in a matter of seconds and their goal is to help you get back to normal as quickly as possible. Patrick Regan, one of the partners at Regan Zambri Long puts it this way: “The most important thing about clients – no matter how much anyone likes you, they don’t want to be your client for one minute longer than necessary. People walk into law offices to get results, problems resolved.”
The car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long are often referred to by other lawyers and judges around the country. Some personal injury cases require long-term commitments and extensive resources that other firms may not have. Regan Zambri Long has the financial backing to take on complex cases and will see your case through to the very end. Initial consultations are free and our lawyers only collect a fee if a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hit and Run Accidents
How do I file a hit and run personal injury claim in Washington D.C.?
You will initially notify your insurance company that you were involved in a hit and run accident. The rest will be handled by your Regan Zambri Long hit and run lawyer. Your lawyer will contact the insurance company after you do and let them know they are representing you. From there, the insurance company will know that any contact should be through your attorney, not with you directly. This allows you to rest, heal, and recover from the accident.
Your attorney will proceed to negotiate with the insurance company for the highest possible settlement, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional anguish. If the insurance company agrees to the demands your lawyer presents, then a settlement will be reached. If not, your attorney can file a suit in court.
What is the difference between a settlement and a verdict?
A settlement is reached if the insurance company agrees to pay the full amount of compensation owed to you following an accident. However, insurance companies are notorious for trying to pay the bare minimum of what is owed to you. If that’s the case, your claim will go to court where a judge or jury will decide the verdict. Regan Zambri Long car accident attorneys have recovered millions for their clients, both in settlements and in verdicts. They prepare every case as if it’s going to trial, and they have the financial backing to take on large insurance companies in court. Rest assured, if a settlement cannot be reached and you decide to take your claim to court, your lawyer will be with you, and advocating for you, until the very end of the process.
What is considered a hit and run?
It is considered a hit and run when a driver hits you and then drives away. Hit and run accidents can also be when the driver who hit you abandons the car and takes off on foot. If your car is parked and was hit by another driver and the at fault driver does not provide contact information (or gives you false information), that could also be considered a hit and run.
Is leaving the scene of an accident a crime in Washington D.C.?
Yes. There are two crimes the offender can be charged with after leaving the scene of an accident in Washington D.C. The first is called “leaving after colliding, property damage,” which has a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. The second crime is “leaving after colliding, personal injury,” which is up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The law states that the people involved in an accident must call the police after the crash and also wait until the police arrive. This is why it is extremely important to remain at the scene of the accident and not try to chase after the driver who hit you. If possible, jot down any facts about the car that you can – color, make and model, license plate – and stay where you are. Call the police immediately and report the accident. The police will work with you and eyewitnesses to track down the at fault driver.
How can I prove the other driver left the scene of the accident?
The car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long will use the police report as a key component to proving the other driver fled after the accident. They will also collect witness statements and look for any camera footage.
What is Contributory Negligence in Washington D.C.?
Washington D.C. is one of the five jurisdictions that uses contributory negligence instead of comparative negligence laws. Virginia and Maryland also use contributory negligence laws. Contributory negligence means if you are found to have any fault in the accident then you cannot file a claim for compensation. This is another reason why it’s essential to have a Regan Zambri Long hit and run accident lawyer represent you. Your lawyer will work to prove the other driver fled the scene of the accident because they were entirely at fault.
What type of damages can I recover from my car accident?
There are three different types of damages you can recover from a hit and run accident:
- Economic Damages: Economic damages cover all expenses that you incur because of the accident, such as medical bills, property damages, and wages.
- Medical expenses include: Ambulance rides, ER visits, hospital stays, rehabilitation, medications, treatments, and follow-up appointments.
- Property damages include: Car repair or replacement, rental car, and property that was damaged inside the vehicle during the time of the collision.
- Wages include: Loss of income and wages due to missing work because of your injuries and loss of earning capacity (when the injuries you sustained during the accident keep you from returning to work).
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages are often called “intangible” damages, since they have no set monetary value. However, they cause huge lifestyle changes and add pain to the victim’s life. They include:
- Physical pain (pain caused by the accident).
- Mental trauma, anguish, and hardships (grief, depression, nervousness, anxiety, etc.).
- Unexpected loss (loss of a loved one, loss of enjoyment of life).
- Physical reparations (disfigurement, physical impairment, sexual dysfunction).
- Social standing (damage to the victim’s reputation).
- Punitive Damages: There are three types of punitive damages the victim can collect. They are:
- Simple negligence: When the driver doesn’t take proper care and causes harm to another person.
- Gross negligence: When the driver does something willfully and causes harm to another person (i.e. causing a car crash because they were distracted by reading a text message).
- Willful and wanton negligence: When the driver is intentionally reckless and doesn’t care about the consequences (i.e. someone speeding through a pedestrian area, knowing that speeding could cause a pedestrian to be hit).
Can I still collect damages if I cannot find the driver who hit me?
Yes, you can still collect compensation. Washington D.C. requires all drivers to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is exactly for situations such as hit and run collisions. It is insurance for the victim of an accident who was hit by a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance or any insurance at all. If you were involved in a hit and run car accident, your Regan Zambri Long car accident attorney can negotiate with your insurance company to reach the highest settlement possible using your own uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
What injuries can you get from a car accident?
There are several different injuries you can sustain from a car accident, whether it’s a fender bender or a major collision. The most common types of injuries are:
- Broken bones
- Neck/back/spinal cord injuries
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue damage (damage to your tendons, muscles, or ligaments)
- Internal bleeding
- Emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you or someone you love is a victim of a hit and run accident, call 202-960-4596 to learn how the attorneys at Regan Zambri Long may be able to help you through these difficult times and seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Our consultations are free.