St. Louis Hit & Run Accident Lawyers
There is nothing more overwhelming than watching the other vehicle drive off after an accident resulting in injuries and damages. When you anticipate exchanging information to pursue a compensation claim if needed, it’s frustrating to be left alone wondering what to do next.
After a hit and run, there are steps you can take to seek compensation for your injuries and damages, including speaking with a personal injury lawyer immediately. Contact NST Law today to take the guesswork out of your hit and run accident. We have years of experience handling car accident claims, and we work diligently to uphold the legal rights of car accident victims in Missouri.
Your choice of a lawyer after a hit and run accident is an important decision. We offer a free initial consultation to help you decide if we’re the right fit for you.
What is a hit and run car accident?
A hit and run car accident happens when someone involved in a car crash leaves the scene without exchanging information, identifying themselves, or providing help to injured accident victims. Hit and run accidents also occur when a vehicle collides with someone or something other than another vehicle and knowingly leaves the accident scene.
In Missouri, a person can face civil and criminal charges if found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. Missouri law defines a hit and run as any time the operator of a vehicle that was involved in an accident and, with knowledge of the accident, leaves the place of the injury, damage, or accident without stopping and providing their information to the other party or a law enforcement officer.
How common are hit and run car accidents in St. Louis?
According to an analysis by the American Automobile Association, in 2015, there were approximately 737,100 hit and run car accidents in the U.S., making up 11.7% of all crashes. The same report shows that 2016 recorded the highest number of deaths (2,049) due to hit and run accidents.
Recent cases of hit and run accidents in St. Louis
On July 26, 2021, in East St. Louis, on State Street at North 39th Street, around 1:30 a.m, there was a hit and run accident. The car left behind flipped over, injuring three people. Fox 2 Now stated that at the time of the news report, police were still looking for the other driver involved in the hit and run accident.
A month prior, on May 26, 2021, a motorcyclist died in a hit and run accident after a vehicle struck his bike and fled the scene. The accident happened around 7:30 p.m. in South St. Louis County, along southbound I-55 near Butler Hill Road. Mehlville Fire Protection District transported the accident victim to Mercy Hospital-South, where medical personnel pronounced him dead.
At the time of publication of the news story, investigators with the Missouri State Highway Patrol were still searching for the driver of a black Honda Accord who fled the scene. Witnesses saw the unknown motorist driving recklessly before colliding with the motorcycle.
In July 2021, a teenager riding a bicycle northbound on Interstate 170, north of Forest Park Parkway, died after being struck from behind by a vehicle that fled the scene. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. Law enforcement searched for a Chevrolet Camaro with likely front-end damages, notifying the public to look for the same.
In St. Louis, many hit and run accidents commonly involve pedestrians, not just other vehicles or modes of transportation. One recent incident happened on July 16, 2021, at approximately 9:30 p.m., a car struck an elderly man in a motorized wheelchair killing him as he was trying to cross the 9400 block of Halls Ferry Road near the St. Andrew’s of Jennings II apartments to get something to eat. Fox 2 Now reported that as of July 18, 2021, the St. Louis County Police were still searching for the suspect that fled the scene.
In October 2020, a driver fled the scene after hitting a pedestrian and later abandoning the car. The pedestrian died after being struck with the driver’s white Buick Regency in the 3500 block of North Grand Boulevard near Natural Bridge Avenue around 5 p.m. Police, after reviewing video surveillance, charged the driver with involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of the accident in June 2021.
Two hit and run accidents involving pedestrians, happening within just two months of each other in 2019, also resulted in deaths. One victim was only 4-years-old. His mom pushed him and his two-year-old sister in a stroller through the intersection at Chambers Road and Clairmont Drive in St. Louis County at about 9:30 p.m. after leaving a 24-hour daycare center and heading for the bus stop, when a car struck the stroller, throwing the young boy into the street. The car kept driving, flattening the stroller. The boy later died in the hospital, but his younger sister survived with non-life-threatening injuries.
Lastly, a 28-year-old woman died in downtown St. Louis after a hit and run occurring around 1 a.m. near Busch Stadium as she was crossing the street in the 200 block of South Broadway. She died at the hospital from her injuries.
What are the common causes of hit and run accidents?
The American Automobile Association links environmental factors to hit and run accidents. For example, the association found that when there’s greater visibility of a possible crash, the less likely it is that drivers will leave the scene. Additionally, drivers often make reckless decisions, such as fleeing an accident scene when they’ve been drinking or are under the influence of certain substances. Lastly, drivers without insurance might not stop because they believe that’s the best way to avoid liability.
In the American Automobile Association’s analysis, researchers explain that drivers go through a standard decision analysis framework and balance the costs and benefits of leaving the accident scene. This decision involves many factors specific to the facts of the auto accident itself, including both objective factors such as weather, road conditions, and time of day, and subjective factors such as driver’s distractions, phones, speeding, or passengers in the vehicle.
Common Injuries in Hit and Run Accidents
Like any car accident case, injuries from hit and run car accidents can range from minor bumps or scrapes to more severe bruising, internal bleeding, broken bones, traumatic head injuries, or even death. Injuries can also vary depending on the type of hit and run accident. For example, cars colliding with other cars can lead to catastrophic injuries, depending on the vehicles’ speed and many other factors. But cars colliding with motorcyclists or pedestrians can often result in death to the unprotected traveler.
What should I do after a hit and run accident in St. Louis?
After a hit and run accident, there are many steps you should take to safeguard yourself and prepare for a possible injury claim:
- Record any identifying information about the fleeing vehicle. If you can see the other car, you should try to get the license plate number or note the make, model, color, and possible year of the vehicle that caused the accident. Any other information that can help identify the driver or the car is also beneficial, such as logos, bumper stickers, tinted windows, or custom changes to the vehicle.
- Contact the police. After a hit and run, you should also contact the police as soon as possible so they have a chance to locate the fleeing party in the area surrounding the scene. Once you have called the police, you can also file a police report about when, where, and how the accident occurred to support your insurance claim. It’s important to remember exactly how the accident happened or as many key details as possible since your memory is one of the only things supporting your claim.
- Don’t chase after the fleeing vehicle. While it makes sense that you want to catch and hold responsible the at-fault party if you leave the scene too, it can cause several issues. First, it can mess with the accident scene and make it difficult to determine what exactly happened. Second, it can create more danger for you, your passengers, and others on the road. If a party flees the accident scene, they are likely traveling at high speeds, or they could be intoxicated, making it unwise to chase after them.
- Talk to all potential witnesses. Even if you didn’t get identifying information about the fleeing vehicle, others might have, so it’s crucial to speak with witnesses at the scene and in the surrounding areas about what they saw or heard. If you can get these bystanders’ names and contact information, you can provide it to the police to include in the police report. You can also ask the witnesses to stay until the police arrive, and they can speak to them and provide them with their information and account of the accident directly.
- Contact our legal team at NST Law. Every hit and run accident is different, meaning that handling the aftermath depends on the specific circumstances of your accident. Contacting our legal team at NST Law provides you with an opportunity to hold someone liable for your injuries and damages, so you can receive fair compensation to aid in your recovery. Our hit and run car accident lawyers can help you gather evidence to support your insurance claim, aid in the investigation to find the other driver, and determine the validity of settlement offers. It’s important that you not accept the first settlement offer extended to you from an insurance company without contacting our accident attorneys at NST Law to ensure the proposal is fair.
What evidence do I need to help find a hit and run driver?
Any identifying information you can provide about either the driver or the vehicle is vital to discovering who they are. Immediately after the accident, you should record or try to remember as much about the vehicle as possible, including:
- Color, year, make, and model
- Custom changes
- Bumper stickers
- License plate, even if it’s only partial
- Any other information you can remember about the vehicle
If you noticed anything about the other driver, such as hair color, gender, and age range, this information could also prove helpful in locating the person. It’s also essential to identify which parts of the vehicle might have sustained damage in the accident so that police can note telltale signs that a car may have been in an accident recently.
What are the penalties for leaving the scene of a car accident in St. Louis, Missouri?
Under Missouri law, leaving the scene of an accident is usually a Class A misdemeanor. It can be a Class E felony if there was a physical injury to another party, damages exceeding $1,000 to another person’s property, or if the defendant has previously been found guilty of a similar crime. It can be a class D felony if a death occurs.
In Missouri, the classifications of crimes or charges relate to their sentences. For example, a Class A misdemeanor yields a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail. A Class E felony can result in a sentence of up to four years in prison, and a Class D felony yields sentencing up to seven years in prison.
What if I can’t find the other driver after a hit and run collision?
If you’re unable to find the other driver after a hit and run accident, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance provider under your uninsured motorist coverage. However, if your memory of the accident is the primary support for your claim, the insurance company will likely dispute it. For this reason, it’s advisable that you hire a hit and run accident attorney to identify available remedies under your insurance policy, research and evaluate the strengths of your claim, and help you with filing the necessary paperwork and evidence to establish your compensation demand.
Generally, your insurance company is in an adverse position once you file an uninsured motorist claim and will attempt to show that your comparative negligence contributed to the accident to reduce the amount owing to you. Under Missouri law, any fault stemming from the plaintiff proportionately decreases the awarded compensation based on your attributed percentage of negligence. Our hit and run accident attorneys can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injury claim.
How much compensation can I receive after a hit and run accident?
The compensation you may be entitled to after a hit and run accident depends on several influential factors and the circumstances of your specific claim and the accident. Factors affecting your award amount can include:
- The nature and extent of your physical and psychological injuries
- Damages to the vehicle or other personal property
- Lost wages or future loss of income
- Medical bills and future treatment costs
- An admission of guilt of finding of fault
Since every accident is different, every compensation award for a hit and run accident can vary. A St. Louis car accident lawyer can provide you with legal advice concerning your claim’s worth.
What's the deadline for filing a claim after a hit and run accident?
Under Missouri law, claimants must bring a personal injury action within five years from the date of the accident. The statute of limitations governs this time restriction with few exceptions. A hit and run car accident lawyer can explain deadlines to you and help file your injury claim or lawsuit timely.
How can a St. Louis hit and run car accident law firm help me?
If you were the victim of a hit and run accident or a hit and run car accident resulted in the death of your loved one, contact NST Law today to give you ample time to develop a strategy to receive compensation for your injuries and damages. Our lawyers can help evaluate your case and determine your claim’s value. In addition, we’ll gather evidence to aid in locating the other driver, and we’ll handle all communications with insurance companies and other relevant parties.