View of Injured man on side mirror of car

I Was Involved in a Hit-and-Run. Do I Still Have a Case?

Abrahamson Law Office  June 28, 2024

Being involved in a hit-and-run can be an incredibly distressing experience, leaving victims with physical injuries and a sense of helplessness and uncertainty. Hit-and-run incidents are particularly challenging from a legal standpoint because the at-fault driver often remains unidentified, which complicates the ability to seek compensation.  

Many individuals wonder whether they have a viable case after such an event, given the difficulties in tracking down the responsible party and proving liability. However, it's important to understand that there are legal avenues available for victims of hit-and-run accidents, and pursuing these can often lead to successful outcomes. 

At Abrahamson Law Office, we understand the shock and confusion that come with being involved in a hit-and-run accident. If you find yourself involved in such an accident in Nebraska, our dedicated attorneys can walk you through what you need to know to build a case. 

Understanding Hit-and-Run Accidents  

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver is involved in a collision with another vehicle, property, or person and flees the scene without providing contact information or offering assistance to those injured. These accidents are serious offenses and can have severe legal consequences for the fleeing driver.  

Under Nebraska law, drivers must stop, exchange information, and offer reasonable assistance if necessary to the other party or parties involved. If the driver flees, they could be charged with a hit-and-run accident, which will be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the incident and the extent of the injuries or damages caused. 

Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents 

One common cause of hit-and-run accidents is fear of legal repercussions, such as the potential for arrest, fines, or an increase in insurance premiums. Drivers might also flee if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, lack a valid driver's license, or are driving a stolen vehicle. In some cases, the hit-and-run driver may simply panic and make an impulsive decision to leave the scene.  

But what does this mean for you, the victim, and your case? Regardless of the cause, a driver fleeing an accident scene significantly hinders your ability to seek immediate medical attention and financial compensation for your losses. It's important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney and to take specific steps immediately following the event to build a case. 

Steps to Take Immediately After a Hit-and-Run 

Building a strong case following a hit-and-run accident requires swift and diligent action. It's important to follow certain steps to protect yourself and your legal rights after the incident. 

  • Ensure safety and seek medical attention: Move to a safe location if possible and call emergency services if you or anyone else is injured. Seeking immediate medical attention is also crucial, even if injuries seem minor, as some symptoms may surface later. 

  • Call the police: Report the hit-and-run to the police. Provide them with as much information as you can about the fleeing vehicle and driver. This will serve as an essential piece of evidence in your case. 

  • Gather evidence: Take photographs of your vehicle, any visible injuries, and the location of the accident. If there are any witnesses, gather their contact information and statements while their memories are fresh. 

  • Document details of the accident: Write down everything you remember about the incident, including the make, model, color, and license plate number of the fleeing vehicle, if possible. Also, note the time, date, and location of the accident, as well as any contributing factors like weather conditions. 

  • Notify your insurance company: Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with all the gathered information and documentation. Many insurance policies include coverage for hit-and-run accidents under uninsured motorist coverage. 

  • Consult an attorney: Contact a car accident attorney experienced in hit-and-run cases. An attorney can help gather additional evidence and work to identify the at-fault driver. They can also negotiate with insurance companies to make sure you receive fair compensation. 

Filing a Claim After a Hit-and-Run Accident 

Even if the driver who fled the scene isn't immediately identified, you still have options to file a claim. If you've been involved in an accident in Nebraska, you can file a personal injury or property damage claim against the at-fault party. This can be done by: 

  • Filing a claim with your own insurance company under the uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) provisions of your policy 

  • Filing a civil lawsuit against the unknown driver 

In Nebraska, all auto insurance policies issued in the state must include uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage. This coverage ensures that you are not left bearing the financial burden of medical bills, property damage, and other expenses stemming from an accident caused by a driver who cannot compensate for your losses. This is particularly true in hit-and-run scenarios if the responsible party remains unidentified 

An experienced hit-and-run attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your case and work with investigators to potentially uncover additional evidence to make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. 

Statute of Limitations 

In Nebraska, there is a deadline for filing legal claims after an accident. This deadline is known as the state of limitations. For personal injury claims, you generally have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, for wrongful death claims, you have two years from the date of the deceased's passing. 

Determining Fault and Liability in a Hit-and-Run Case

Determining fault in a hit-and-run case can be challenging. It often involves gathering and analyzing evidence to identify the responsible party. In the absence of the at-fault driver, law enforcement agencies and legal representatives rely on various forms of evidence and investigative techniques to establish liability, such as: 

  • Police reports 

  • Surveillance footage 

  • Witness testimonies 

  • Physical and forensic evidence from the accident scene 

  • Expert testimonies from accident recreation analysts 

Once fault has been determined, your attorney can help you pursue compensation through your insurance or potentially identify the at-fault driver for a more targeted claim. However, it's important to remember that Nebraska follows a "comparative negligence" rule. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault.  

Experienced Legal Counsel You Can Trust

Dealing with a hit-and-run is often a complex process, but you don't have to go through it alone. At Abrahamson Law Office, we are committed to providing diligent legal representation to our clients during these trying times. Our lawyers will work tirelessly to help you through the aftermath of your accident and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.  

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, we proudly serve clients throughout Sarpy County, Douglas County, Washington County, Saunders County (Wahoo), Otoe County (Nebraska City), and Dodge County (Fremont).