Throughout the United States there are over two thousand hit and run incidents on a daily basis. Each year, over 680K of these accidents occur, and sadly the frequency of hit and runs has increased by over 60% since 2009. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a very serious crime and can even result in felony charges for the guilty party. Unfortunately, if you are injured during a hit and run accident you won’t be able to file a personal injury case unless the police are able to locate the driver in question. Over the course of this article, we’ll explore some potential options to alleviate the financial and medical burdens you’re enduring in the event that you’ve been involved in a hit and run.
The penalties for individuals caught and charged in hit and run accidents are different across each state. Some states charge the perpetrator with a misdemeanor while others charge felonies. Fines for these incidents are also a possibility in addition to a personal injury lawsuit, ranging from $5K to as much as $20K. Punitive damages are generally determined based on the severity of the incident and the lack of morality shown on the part of the perpetrator. For instance, punitive damages would be more severe if the guilty party caused life threatening injuries than if they simply caused minor damage to a vehicle. In many cases, the judge can also order the perpetrator to pay for the victim’s medical bills and vehicle repairs.
If the driver who committed a hit and run is never found, you still have some options depending on what state you reside in. Pennsylvania, for example, has a no-fault insurance system, which can compel insurance companies to cover medical bills and lost wages for the victim. While you won’t be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering, this does provide an avenue for you to recover some of the financial losses incurred as a result of the hit and run.
Consulting with a personal injury lawyer is strongly suggested in these cases in order to maximize the amount of compensation you’ll receive from your insurance company or the perpetrator. Compiling records from the incident, along with subsequent medical information and bills, can be incredibly stressful if you’re recovering from a serious injury. Utilizing the services of a trained legal professional will give you the best chance to mitigate the financial and physical damage inflicted during these accidents.