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In instances where a driver intentionally leaves the scene of an accident without giving necessary information, victims are often left with both physical injuries and a puzzle as to who is responsible.
This essay delves into can you sue a hit and run driver? It looks at determining who is responsible, filing an insurance claim, seeking damages in a lawsuit and how criminal cases can impact civil proceedings.
Let’s start now!
1. Finding Out Who Is Responsible
One of the biggest challenges in hit-and-run cases is finding out who is liable. So, victims must gather as much information as possible so they can file a lawsuit.
Eyewitnesses should help document details such as the car’s colour, what part of its license plate number was intact and any other distinct identifying features. Drivers should also notice what the person behind the wheel looked like since this will slip from memory quickly.
2. Filing An Insurance Claim
In many cases, victims can seek compensation despite not knowing who hit them by using their insurance policy. Motorists, uninsured or underinsured provisions, often have coverage for these accidents that go unanswered.
If it’s discovered later on who was driving when you were hurt, your attorney may be able to redirect your claim toward them instead of your insurer.
You mustn’t forget about filing an insurance claim because they act like financial lifelines when you’re healing from an accident.
3. Damages In A Lawsuit
Victims usually also have a chance of suing if their coverage falls short or they just want more money. Medical bills, lost wages due to injuries and property damage are some things that lawsuits over hit-and-runs aim to cover,
On top of primary compensation, victims might also be granted punitive rewards, which punish the driver for purposely running from the scene. This is intended to deter them so they won’t do it again.
4. Criminal Case Impact
Parallel to a civil suit that victims can file, hit-and-run drivers may also face criminal charges. Usually, all the information compiled during the criminal trial will help the victim’s lawsuit.
With conviction, judges can look at this evidence and draw their conclusions, speeding up the whole process. Remember that even though these cases are very similar, the burden of proof on prosecutors tends to differ significantly.
5. Consultation with Legal Professionals:
All of this stuff gets complex, so if you’re ever unsure what steps to take, consult an attorney specialising in accidents such as hit-and-runs.
Though they can be complex, the impact of hit-and-run incidents on victims in the United States carries severe legal repercussions.
When faced with this situation, such victims have a few different legal pathways at their disposal to pursue compensation and justice for their losses:
Since legal professionals are well-versed in gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance carriers, and presenting a case in court (all of which become increasingly difficult with the intricacies of dealing with judges and juries), discussing your case with them allows you to make informed decisions regarding your pursuit of justice.
With a lawyer by your side, you’ll explore all possible legal options before setting on any of them.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
6.1. Can I sue a hit-and-run driver if I cannot identify them?
Yes! You can take this to court even if the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified. Turning to insurance is always an option (filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim), but consulting a lawyer will guide you better on how else you can get compensated for what happened.
6.2. What information should I gather at the accident scene to strengthen my case?
It is essential to gather as much information as possible. Document details such as the vehicle’s description, a partial license plate number, and any identifying features.
If you were fast enough to see the driver, immediately document what they looked like. Eyewitness accounts are some of the best evidence out there, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask around or look for any intersection cameras or nearby surveillance footage that might’ve captured something valuable.
6.3. Can I file a lawsuit if I’ve already received compensation from my insurance claim?
Absolutely! The beauty here is that suing allows victims to seek additional damages; these include punitive damages which may not be covered by insurance. A lawyer will provide more insight into what kind(s) of compensation you’re eligible for via a lawsuit.
6.4. What damages can I seek in a lawsuit against a hit-and-run driver?
In a lawsuit, you can seek compensatory damages for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. But you’re not limited to these three categories — there are others! Punitive damages are also available if your lawyer and the court deem them necessary. They’re intended as punishment for the hit-and-run driver’s intentional actions.
6.5. How does a criminal case against the hit-and-run driver affect my lawsuit?
The information shared during this trial is also precious in the civil one; it could expedite things because a conviction serves as persuasive evidence of liability.
While the criminal case is ongoing, the civil one may experience short pauses from time to time. But fear not; these two processes complement each other when everything syncs up correctly.
6.6. Is consulting with a lawyer necessary, or can I handle the legal process independently?
Though possible, handling everything independently isn’t advised at all. Lawyers have spent years learning about legal procedures and navigating them with ease (or relative ease). You’d probably struggle with negotiating insurance claims and presenting your story compellingly in court without their help.
Recovering from a hit-and-run incident won’t be easy, but pursuing legal action will at least make it easier to deal with financially: Identifying who did this, Filing an insurance claim and suing for damages… is generally what victims end up dealing with in court cases like this.
Although challenging, working alongside legal professionals will ensure you effectively navigate every intricate bump in our justice system.
Through these lawyers, victims gain access to ample knowledge about various aspects they would otherwise be oblivious to, which is invaluable later in the process.