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Hit and run accidents are more common throughout the United States than you might think.  A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report indicated that an average of 682,000 hit and run crashes occur annually (based on data recorded since 2006).  If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, then you may have a right of action for damages, even if the other driver cannot be found.  If the driver can be found and depending on the circumstances, your case may be strengthened by the fact that the defendant fled the scene.

Reasons Why a Defendant May Flee the Scene

There are a number of reasons as to why a defendant may flee the scene of an accident, some of which are more “egregious” than others.  Consider the following:

  • Lack of insurance coverage
  • Underinsured
  • Concern over potential liability
  • Driving while intoxicated (and want to avoid being arrested and charged)
  • Fear of reprisal
  • Shock
  • Unaware of collision

If a defendant flees the scene, you are not entirely without options for litigating your injury claims.  You may be able to identify the defendant by gathering and evaluating surveillance footage, speaking to eyewitnesses or by monitoring the accident scene after the collision, as most drivers tend to stick to a pattern of travel if the collision occurred on a daily commute.

Civil Liability for a Hit and Run Accident

Hit and run accidents may not only expose the defendant to criminal liability, but may also expose them to potential civil liability, which gives you an opportunity to recover significant damages for the injuries you sustain as a result of their behavior.

Evidence is Probative of Negligence

The fact that the defendant-driver fled the scene of the accident is not — in and of itself — enough to establish negligence.  Generally speaking, evidence of a hit and run accident can be admissible as evidence of wrongdoing. The circumstances (aside from the fact that the defendant fled the scene) must be sufficient to infer negligence.

Punitive Damages Liability

Fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident may give rise to punitive damages liability in certain circumstances.  Punitive damages are awarded quite infrequently — the court imposes punitive damages only when the defendant has engaged in willfully malicious acts, egregious acts, reckless acts, and/or acts that showcase a disregard of the safety of others.

Fleeing the scene of an accident may be interpreted as a reckless disregard for the injured person’s safety, or it may even be viewed as a malicious act.  Of course, in some cases, a plaintiff may flee the scene out of fear or mere instinct.  Depending on the facts surrounding the hit and run accident at issue, it may qualify for punitive damages under the law.

Punitive damages are a punishment — they are meant to discourage same or similar behavior in society.  When punitive damages are calculated, they may therefore extend well past the actual losses.  For example, if you are injured in a hit and run accident where your damages total $50,000, then the court may award punitive damages of up to $300,000, for a total recovery of $350,000.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If the driver of the vehicle who caused the collision cannot be located, you may still be able to present a claim for the losses and harms that you sustained in a hit and run accident.  Uninsured Motorist Coverage, provided by your own automobile insurance policy, allows a means of recovery for this type of collision, as long as certain conditions are met.

This is a Guest Article Written By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman and Davis

About the Author:

Attorney Jonathan J. Russell has been a member of Drake, Hileman and Davis, PC since 1993 and a shareholder and principal in the firm since 1998. Jonathan received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law and his Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Nazarene College. As a trial attorney, Jonathan has been an advocate for his clients throughout all phases of the litigation process. He has obtained successful verdicts and awards before judges, juries and arbitration panels. Jonathan has been recognized by the publishers of Philadelphia Magazine, as a SuperLawyer for the past eight years and is a member of the Million dollar Advocates Forum.

If you or anyone close to you has ever been hit by a car, you can imagine how terrifying and baffling the situation can be. Economic and noneconomic losses triggered by another driver’s carelessness brings upon a great deal of financial and emotional burden. Unfortunately, you cannot press a rewind button and escape what has happened. The least you can do to get closure is making the offender pay for their negligent behavior. Luckily, the law permits you to demand compensation for your medical bills and property damage. The money you receive from the defendant may not alleviate your pain, but it sure can solve your money problems and save you from drowning in debt. In order to make that happen, you need a car accident attorney to review your case and help you file a personal injury claim.

Following the accident, you need to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. A legal representative is integral to the success of your case because:

They know what to do

A person who has never encountered a car accident or any other legal issue in the past is naturally clueless. He/she does not know where to go from there or understand the right course of action. The person may unknowingly say or do something that incriminates them or jeopardizes their case. People around might misguide them and reduce the possibility of obtaining compensation. A car accident lawyer can handle everything for you, starting from talking to the police to collecting evidence and filing the lawsuit.

They are masters of negotiation

You are likely to be shook after the accident, thus your ability to negotiate with the opposition will falter. The defendant and their insurance company will not make the transaction any easy. They will try their best to undermine your claim and defy your rights, by exploiting your lack of knowledge. They might offer you a meager settlement that only partially covers the cost of your damages. Lawyers are well aware of all the antics and can tell when the opposition is simply bluffing to sidetrack your focus. They are trained to bargain and conjure up convincing arguments, which is guaranteed to work in your favor.

They are problem solvers

Auto accident cases can be complicated and sometimes proving the burden of liability becomes tricky. Professional and experienced car accident attorneys have the brains and skills to figure out problematic stances. They have a qualified team to thoroughly investigate the matter and fill any information gaps. They can uncover evidence that the average person could never even think of. Precisely, your lawyer will always have your back, whether it’s about verifying your medical records or providing a testimony in court.

They are capable of making better decisions

Car accident victims are in no position of making life-changing decisions. Their pain and suffering prohibits them from thinking straight or acting rational. A personal injury attorney understands that their client is overwhelmed by emotions, which can potentially become an obstacle for their success in the lawsuit. Therefore, they will do everything in their power to rescue you from a regretful future.

They maximize your interests

The insurance company does not care about your wellbeing, regardless of what they say. They will only manipulate you to reduce their payout and coax you into accepting a measly settlement. Your lawyer is the only one who can recognize their hypocrisy and fight for the compensation you deserve. By taking the case to trial, the lawyer may help you win additional benefits, such as reimbursement for punitive damages.

They allow you peace of mind

PTSD, anxiety, and depression are common among survivors of car accidents. They need time to heal and cope with their loss. Legal procedures of a personal injury claim/lawsuit only add to their stress. By hiring a Houston car accident attorney, you don’t have to face all the troubles, as he/she will take care of everything for you. You can recover in peace while your lawyer deals with the paperwork and other legal requirements.

Long Beach – The city know for its waterfront attractions, is the 7th most populated city in California. With its moderate weather conditions, this city attracts a lot of tourists. The California State University of Long Beach is one of the largest enrolling universities in California with a significant number of students coming from other cities and nations. This city offers endless job and business opportunities too. But having this much incoming traffic increases the risk of getting into accidents as well. The higher the volume of traffic, the higher is the chance of getting into an accident.  Long Beach car accident stats have elevated over time, with an average of 1,855 car accidents per year. It has the highest Traffic collision and death rate. 

If you are in long Beach, California, and get affected due to a traffic collision or a car accident, and you get injured, or you suffer a material loss due to someone else’s fault, you can get legal help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach. They offer the best services in all kinds of legal stipulations attached to your scenario, no matter how complicated your case may be.

Car accidents, Insurance claims, negotiations, dealing with insurance settlers, and getting compensation for your loss and injuries feels like a laborious yet complex task to manage, but having the right kind of legal help by your side can work like a miracle, especially when you only pay for your help if you get compensated right!

Car Accidents are nightmares and the two most basic things that follow them are, first, getting immediate medical help and the second is, getting immediate legal help for your loss and injuries. Why do you have to pay for hospital bills? Or for your material damage, when your lawyer can get you compensated for both! Yes, it is possible. Under the law, you can get compensated for a traffic collision that caused you to harm due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. This harm includes all sorts of damages, either those are material, physical or emotional. You can even get compensated for your loss of income, medical bills, and may get compensated for economic losses that may occur due to some injury that may affect your finances in the future. Furthermore, having legal representation at your side will not only help you in negotiating with your insurance agent, and the party at-fault for compensations of your losses throughout of court settlement, but will also make sure that grounds for formal court settlement are laid down if the negotiations fail. Insurance agents are tricky to handle, the insurance companies often offer unfair or limited settlements for your loss, and this could not only make matter worse for you financially but will also affect your mental health. Such situations can emotionally distress you to drain you. So, you should let someone professional and experienced, handle your case.  

At this point, not only a lawyer can help you with an informal out-of-court settlement but can also help you with a formal settlement and evidence collection that can be crucial for winning your case. So, get legal help as soon as you get affected in a traffic accident.

If you have been injured in a car, motorcycle or truck accident, it is important to recognize that insurance companies have become very sophisticated in handling claims and managing accident victims. These companies know that many accident victims are ill-prepared for the financial hardships that can arise when an injury interrupts their income stream.

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