When a negligent driver causes a car accident in Kansas or Missouri, he has a duty to stop and provide contact and insurance information and to render aid, such as calling an ambulance, if a victim is injured.
Unfortunately, the number of people who flee the scene of a collision is increasing. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were 717,110 hit and run accidents in 2015 and 2,049 fatalities in 2016—the highest ever. That year's statistics also indicate that 30 people were killed in these crashes in Missouri, and 15 lost their lives in Kansas.
Why People Flee the Scene of an Accident
The reasons that negligent drivers do the unthinkable and fail to stop after causing a tragic collision are varied, but the underlying reason is fear of the negative consequences.
Here are some common reasons hit and run accidents occur:
- A driver’s license was suspended or revoked.
- The motorist was intoxicated due to alcohol or drug use.
- An individual wasn't in the country legally.
- The driver had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
- The motorist didn't have automobile insurance.
Obtaining Compensation for Hit and Run Injuries
If you sustained injuries in a hit and run accident, you still have options to obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Here are possible avenues of compensation:
You can file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company if you're able to locate him. The police may conduct an investigation if your injuries were serious, because it's a crime to flee the scene. In addition, photos taken by you or an eyewitness with a cellphone, or by a business or intersection camera video, can help identify the driver.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In both Kansas and Missouri, you're required to purchase a minimum of $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. If you cannot locate the other driver, or he doesn't have insurance, you could file a claim through this coverage. In Kansas, you're also required to have $25,000 in underinsured coverage that can be used to compensate you if the person had insurance but it wasn't sufficient to cover all of your losses.
Other Insurance Coverages
There are a number of other insurance coverages that can help you in a hit and run accident. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is required in Kansas to pay some of your medical bills and lost wages. Other insurance coverages that can help are MedPay to cover medical bills in Missouri, and collision coverage for your vehicle repairs.
An experienced car accident attorney can attempt to locate the hit and run driver, identify all possible sources of compensation, and negotiate your settlements for you. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team, contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111.