Nobody expects to be involved in a hit-and-runaccident. Nobody expects the turmoil and complexities of the process, and figuring out how you are going to pay for your medical bills. The question remains: Who can be held liable when one of these accidents occurs? How can I pin a face and name to the accident when they decided to drive away from the scene of the crime?
As you may know, drivers have duties when they are involved in car accidents. Drivers will typically have to alert emergency services, especially when there is a known injury involved with the accident. In the case of a very severe accident, police must be alerted. Lastly, all drivers involved in the accident must exchange contact and insurance information. However, what happens in a hit-and-run? One of the drivers has left the scene without checking to make sure that the other driver was okay. They never alerted emergency services and they never gave their information. This makes a hit-and-run extremely illegal and open for penalties.
So, what are the consequences of a hit-and-run? If you, as the defendant, are found, the plaintiff will likely recover punitive damages. These damages come into play when the defendant intentionally or recklessly caused harm, which is the case when they have chosen to leave the scene after injuring the plaintiff or causing damage to their vehicle. They are designed to punish the defendant and also prevent these actions from happening a second time. Furthermore, the plaintiff will also be entitled to damages like medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
The defendant will also face criminal consequences of fleeing the accident scene. These could range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony. You could face jail time if you injured somebody in an accident scene and had reason to believe that they were hurt or killed but still didn’t stop.
Who Will Pay For Injuries in a Hit-and-Run?
When a victim is injured in a hit-and-run accident, they unfortunately have no choice but to collect compensation from their own insurance policies. Otherwise, the running driver will need to be found through witnesses or turning themselves in. It is very unfortunate to say that it is rare for this to happen. In California, the most likely option to receive compensation is to make an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.
What is uninsured motorist coverage? This type of coverage provides coverage in the event that you are injured by an uninsured or unidentified vehicle. This is known as a primary source when somebody is injured in a hit-and-run. You have a reasonable amount of time to report the accident so that it is taken care of in a timely manner. However, you must be prepared to show proof that there was physical contact by another vehicle or that there was a witness who can attest to the accident (Nguyen).
Hit-and-run accidents can be extremely complex because there is needed evidence that the accident occurred and many defendants in this case will get away without any identification made. This makes it difficult for you to tie contact information to your accident. However, there are ways to get the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in a hit-and-run, start by calling an attorney that you can trust with your case. At Welebir, Tierney & Weck, we are looking forward to hear from you.
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