Rhode Island Hit and Runs: What You Need to Know
Being injured in a car accident is one of the most stressful experiences you can go through. And if you’ve been the victim of a hit and run, the stress is even worse. As if the physical and financial toll of the accident wasn’t bad enough, the person who did this to you ran away, leaving you to deal with the aftermath by yourself.
With bills piling high and your injuries keeping you out of work, it may seem like there’s nowhere to turn. That’s where we come in. As experienced auto accident lawyers in Providence, the legal experts at Petrarca law can help you through this difficult time with compassion and empathy. We’ll handle every aspect of your claim for you and do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve.
What’s a hit and run? Rhode Island car accident law
According to Rhode Island law, “a driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death must, upon request, give their name, address, and vehicle registration number, and exhibit their driver’s license to any person involved in the accident.” Fleeing the scene and failing to provide this information transforms a standard car accident into a hit and run. This rule applies to accidents that only involve property damage, as well.
Hit and runs aren’t always a matter of the other driver never stopping, either. If a driver stops and talks to you but fails to provide their identifying information, this is also considered a hit and run. The same is true if someone hits your car while it’s parked and fails to leave a note.
A hit and run can also occur when a negligent driver strikes a cyclist or pedestrian and fails to stop. That’s right: you can be the victim of a hit and run without ever setting foot inside a car. While this seems like a minor hit and run charge, the lingering effects could be major.
Why do drivers hit and run?
There are several reasons why a driver would choose not to stop at the scene of a crash, such as:
- Being uninsured or underinsured
- Driving while under the influence
- Not owning the vehicle they’re driving
- Not having a valid driver’s license
The driver may be afraid of getting in trouble when the police show up at the accident scene. So, rather than sticking around and taking responsibility, they decide to make a break for it, thinking they can get away with it. But what these drivers don’t realize is that failing to stop only makes it worse.
Law enforcement takes hit and run accidents very seriously, especially when they result in injuries or deaths. Drivers responsible for these kinds of accidents incur some of the steepest penalties and fines under Rhode Island law, including the potential for felony charges.
If you ever have a car accident, no matter how minor, ALWAYS stop and give the other driver your license and insurance information. Failing to do this can transform a simple insurance claim into a complicated court case in a matter of minutes.
If you’ve been accused of committing a hit and run, call us now for a free consultation. As experienced RI car accident lawyers, we’ve successfully defended the rights of our clients in criminal court before, and we can fight for you and your case.
What to do after a hit and run: Providence RI guidelines
The first moments after a hit and run are crucial to building your case later on, so it’s important that you stay calm and in control. Although your blood may be boiling because the car that struck you failed to stop, never try to chase down the other driver. This is dangerous for you, the people in your car and everyone in the surrounding area. You don’t want to worry about incurring a reckless driving charge on top of the crash you’ve just suffered.
Instead, pull out of the flow of traffic and call the police. Try to stay as close to the accident site as possible and begin to collect all the information you can get about the other driver.
How to find out if a hit and run was reported: Obtain your RI state police accident report
Most Providence police accident reports can be obtained via the City of Providence’s website. However, accident reports for crashes that are still under investigation cannot be obtained until after the investigation is complete. You can find more information at the Rhode Island State Police official website.
How long after a hit and run accident can you be charged?
In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for most criminal acts is around 3 years. In civil court, the same three-year statute of limitations applies to claims of personal injury or wrongful death. Although claims for property damage can be filed up to 10 years after the date of the incident.
If you have been accused of committing a hit and run, call us now for a free consultation. As experienced RI car accident lawyers, we’ve successfully defended the rights of our clients in criminal court before, and we can fight for you and your case.
How can I identify the driver after a Providence hit and run? Rhode Island basic instructions
Start by taking down notes while your memory is still fresh. Try to remember the make and model of the car, what the driver looked like and, most importantly, the car’s license plate number. Even the first two digits can lead to a positive ID, so do your best to remember whatever you can.
If you didn’t manage to get a good look at the license plate number, that’s ok. It’s still possible to track down the car’s owner. Traffic cameras or nearby security cameras may have caught the crash on video, and dash-cams are lifesavers in situations like these.
Try asking any nearby witnesses for information about what they saw or ask if they have a dash-cam. Be sure to take down their names and contact information in case you need them to testify later. Anything can be helpful to your case, so do your best to collect as much information as you can.
What happens if the driver is found?
First of all, you can breathe a sigh of relief. For many people, simply knowing that the person who hurt them will receive justice in criminal court is enough. But if you are out of work from your injuries, then you may need more help paying your bills than a simple insurance claim can provide. This is where you need the help of a Providence car accident lawyer to file a civil suit on your behalf.
We’ve won impressive sums for our clients over the years, both inside and outside of courtrooms, and we can help you obtain the settlement you deserve.
What if I can’t identify the driver? Will my insurance cover a hit and run?
If you can’t manage to positively ID the driver, your own insurance will have to cover the damages from the crash. Many insurance companies offer uninsured motorist (UM) policies for scenarios such as these. But unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always faithful about fulfilling these policies to their full extent. That’s why you need an experienced Providence car accident attorney on your side throughout the negotiation process.
At Petrarca law, we’re experts in hit and run providence RI insurance negotiations. We can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to get the full compensation you deserve. We’ll take care of all the red tape for you and give you the time you need to focus on healing.
How Petrarca Law can help you get the financial aid you deserve
The experienced Rhode Island accident lawyers at Petrarca Law will be there for you after a hit and run. We’ve earned a reputation for fighting aggressively for the rights of our clients, and we don’t back down in the face of adversity. We’ve successfully won large sums for our clients over the years, including successfully settling a class-action lawsuit against the City of Providence on behalf of RI drivers. As one of the top law firms in Providence RI, you can rest assured we will take care of every one of your needs from beginning to end.
Whether you need us to file a civil suit, negotiate with your insurance company, or simply need legal counsel, we’ll be there for you throughout this stressful time in your life. We’ll help you get the financial help you desperately need, letting you get your life back on track. Contact us today to schedule your free hit and run consultation.