After a car accident, an investigation takes place to determine who was at fault and will cover medical costs to injury claims. Property damage issues are assessed as well at the discretion of the drivers and their insurers. However, sometimes an accident will be the result of a hit-and-run. In an experience like this, obtaining compensation is unfortunately one-sided.
First off, it is necessary to know what constitutes a hit-and-run accident.
In summary, it is an accident in which the driver intentionally leaves the scene of the crime without providing any contact information. A brief example is a car hitting you inside or outside of your vehicle and speeding off, clearly seeing that they have possibly caused injury or property damage. Another example would be coming outside of the store and seeing that somebody ran into your car and didn’t stick around or so much as leaves contact information on a windshield note. These are both highly illegal moves that leave the unfortunate victim with very little options in most cases. In some states, a hit-and-run also includes any collision with an animal where the driver does not identify him or herself and leaves the scene.
There are very little situations in which a hit-and-run is not seen in a negative light; for example, in some situations the driver must leave the scene of the accident they were involved in so that they can access emergency services if the cell phone signal has gone out. As long as one immediately returns to the scene of the accident, all will be well. Also, most states do not care whether or not the hit-and-run occurred on a highway or on a public road, or even in a parking lot in some cases.
So what happens preceding a hit-and-run?
Gathering as much information as possible after the incident is one of the first steps to success in a difficult time. Having that essential information will not only increase your chances that the police will find the driver who hit you, but also help your car insurance company make vital decisions about the claim. To gather this necessary information, you should attempt to get model, make, and license plate of the car leaving the scene. However, sometimes this isn’t always possible, as we know. Gathering eyewitnesses to the car accident can also be extremely beneficial to the case. Names and contact information are a necessary involvement. Before leaving the scene and making the initial call, write down the time and exact location of the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene if possible, and take pictures of the vehicle especially paying close attention to visible paint that another car may have left on yours.
Resist the temptation to follow a car that has driven off after the accident. Calling the police is the best method for receiving any results, as they will take it into their own hands and keep you out of any lingering troubles. Filing an accident report instead of driving after the criminal will cause you to stay out of any further accidents that you could be charged for when handling the situation recklessly.
What can we do for you?
At MDL, our focus includes working with eyewitnesses, law enforcement, and private investigators to obtain the identity of the driver who was at-fault in the hit-and-run. When the driver’s identity continues to go undiscovered, we will work with our clients to obtain the compensation they deserve. Unfortunately in many cases, victims of these accidents end up being forced to collect from their own insurance policies since the other identity goes unknown and they are never held accountable. It is possible to receive compensation through their uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in some circumstances and we will work our hardest to make sure the process goes smoothly for our clients.
Depending on the damages and injuries involved, criminal charges can range anywhere from a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, the victim is even injured to the point of death where the charges resulting from such would be much lengthier and life changing for both families. Aside from the fact that you could be facing charges of up to $20,000, revocation of a driver’s license is nearly inevitable when a hit and run takes place, as it is really quite serious of a crime.
In both cases where you were the cause of a hit-and-run or just an accident in general, you could face being sued in court for damages. The fact of the matter is, in a case where hit-and-run is established and you were discovered and are being charged for it, the court orders that you find yourself paying will definitely be increased. Some states will even go as far as to impose “treble damages” against you, which are damages that are awarded to the plaintiff that are automatically tripled. This is mainly due to a want to punish the defendant on their bad behavior. For example, if the court has imposed $10,000 to you in charges, the judge will triple that amount to $30,000 on the sole fact that hit-and-run amounts to a particularly reckless act. You may end up paying those costs out of pocket because car insurance policies normally refuse to pay treble damages. (2)
Luckily for you, in the case of a hit-and-run accident, you are able to schedule a free initial consultation with MDL law offices.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run, you can contact our law firm for a free case evaluation and consultation. Unless we recover compensation for you and your family, you will be charged for absolutely nothing. There are many options to consider after an accident like this occurs and, though you may have had a difficult time recovering emotionally and physically, it is vital to talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. This will lead to the determination of whether or not you have a case, which will only help in the long run! Remember: The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to both investigate and pursue a case.
The personal injury attorneys located at MDL have years of experience handling claims of New Jersey hit-and-run incidents. Victims will find they can easily find comfort in our law firm by contacting us to set up a completely free, no-obligation meeting to discuss all options. We can answer any questions you might have and go over possibilities relating to your case.