Everyday millions of people go about their day, driving to work , school and other activities. Because there are so many vehicles on the road, accidents are common. While most drivers are responsible and stop when they hit another vehicle, some are not and they leave the scene. In many cases, victims are left with debilitating injuries that require ongoing medical care. The following explains how personal injury law can help victims who suffer injuries at the hands of a hit and run driver. If you have been hurt in this manner, contact a hit and run accident lawyer to discuss the options available to you under the law.
What Is A Hit And Run?
A hit and run is when a motorist strikes another vehicle or a pedestrian and does not stop to render aid or take responsibility for the accident. According to the National Highway Safety Administration or NHTSA, out of every 100 accidents that occur in the U.S., 11 of them are hit and runs.
What Are The Penalties For A Hit And Run?
Hitting someone with your vehicle and fleeing the accident scene is a crime in every state in the United States. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the severity of the victim’s injuries, the driver may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Punishment for at fault hit and run drivers could include:
- County Jail Time
- Time In State Prison
- Community Service
Unfortunately, many accident victims are unable to give law enforcement an accurate description of the offending vehicle, which means many hit and run drivers go unpunished unless there are eyewitnesses to the crash.
Why Do Drivers Hit And Run?
Most drivers who flee an accident scene do not want to be interviewed by the authorities because they are:
- Driving Under The Influence
- The Have An Outstanding Arrest Warrant
- They Are Frightened
- They Do Not Have A Valid Drivers License
- They Do Not Have Up To Date Insurance
Common Hit And Run Injuries
The severity of an accident victim’s injuries depend largely upon the size of the vehicle and the force of impact. Some of the most common injuries in these cases include:
- Closed Head Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Crush Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Spinal Cord Fractures
- Severed Limbs
Personal injury cases hinge upon the victim being able to prove the driver was careless or negligent and caused their injuries. Hit and run cases typically prove negligence on the part of the driver because they did not stop and give law enforcement their contact and insurance information.
What Damages Can I Receive?
If you are successful in your personal injury lawsuit, you may be awarded damages for your injuries and accident related expenses such as:
- Emergency Room Fees
- Ambulance Transport Costs
- Hospital And Doctor Bills
- Lost Wages
- Future Lost Wages If You Are Disabled
- Cost Of Speech, Physical Or Occupational Therapy
- Pain And Suffering
- Emotional Distress
In cases where an accident victim’s injuries are life changing and debilitating, punitive damages may also be awarded. this type of award is designed to be harsh, so the driver does not make the same mistakes in the future and hurt someone else. whether or not punitive damages are given to the victim depend on the laws in your state and the circumstances surrounding the accident.
How Can A Lawyer Help?
Hit and run cases can be complex and difficult to prove. For this reason, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Some things your lawyer may do to help you prove your case are:
- Hire Investigators To Locate The Vehicle Responsible
- Obtain Police Reports Pertaining To The Accident
- Requesting Your Medical Records
- Consulting Medical Experts About Your Prognosis
- Negotiating A Settlement
- Filing Your Case In Court
- Locating Eyewitnesses To The Accident
- Representing You At Trial
If you or someone you love has been injured at the hands of a hit and run driver, there is help available. Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn if you have a valid claim and should proceed with filing a lawsuit in court. Your lawyer may be able to help you obtain a fair settlement for your injuries and expenses. While a monetary award cannot restore your health, it can provide the funds needed to move ahead with your life after your recovery period ends.