Have you recently been in a hit-and-run accident case? Do you wonder what your compensation legal rights are? Depending on the accident’s severity, you can win up to $50,000 or more in insurance claims with the help of an experienced accident attorney.
If you’ve sustained a severe bodily injury or suffered a significant car wreck, you can claim a car accident settlement with your insurance carrier.
What is a Hit and Run Settlement?
When a driver crashes, brushes, sideswipes, or whiplashes into another vehicle and flees the accident scene, a hit and run case has occurred. Incidents like these happen when the driver is drunk, is too scared to stop, or has incomplete papers. The law frowns at hit-and-run drivers, especially since they had no intention of accepting punishment.
Normally, states mandate that both drivers exchange contact information, including their driver’s license, car make and model, and insurance information after an accident. At-fault drivers refuse this process in hit-and-run situations by driving and cause them to face a felony or misdemeanor hit-and-run charge. Accident victims can file for a settlement depending on how much they spent on medical treatment.
I am a Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident. What Should I Do?
If you happen to be a hit and run accident victim, here are 5 critical next steps you should take:
1. Call the Police: Whether you are at fault or not, you should do so within 24 hours of the accident to have it documented. Usually, reporting a car accident is the right thing to do, but it is a matter of necessity in a hit-and-run situation.
For instance, in New York, drivers without auto insurance may qualify for the New York’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) benefit. However, they only receive if they report the hit-and-run accident within 24 hours after the crash. Keep in mind that the police will ask you to provide scene details, such as the make and model of the at-fault driver’s car. In addition, they will question you on events before, during, and after the crash.
2. Gather Evidence: No detail is too small in light of your quest to make a valuable claim against your insurance coverage. The police will perform due diligence by visiting the scene and collecting evidence, but you should do the same if possible. Take photos and video recordings of the scene and the damage done.
If there are eyewitnesses, you can ask if they are willing to go on record about the crash and make sure to obtain recordings of the impact, full names, and contact information.
3. Seek Medical Attention: Whether it is a minor scratch, significant bodily injury, or nothing at all, still seek medical care as quickly as you can. If you do not, chances are your insurance carrier will make light of the situation and refuse to honor your claim. Again, you should do this immediately because the longer you wait before getting medical care, the slimmer the chances of convincing the insurance company that your injuries (if any) were from the crash.
Even if you didn’t suffer any physical injuries, get examined by a doctor. With a good car accident lawyer representing you, you may still be able to make a valuable claim for intangible damages (emotional trauma, lost sleep, etc.).
4. File an Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claim: In most states, the law requires drivers to carry 2 types of auto insurance policies: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy and Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). While PIP covers claims for bodily injuries, UM gives those without insurance protection against cases like hit and runs. You should file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance carrier after the accident.
To win this claim, you’ll need evidence and documentation, along with the entire medical bill for your treatment. Remember that insurance companies are more likely to pay out a hit-and-run settlement after the treatment than before. Also, if a drunk driver hits you, the settlement value is higher than if they were sober.
5. Get a Skilled Hit-and-Run Lawyer: Most importantly, speak with a personal injury attorney. They will help you estimate how much you can claim from the insurance company. While no two accidents are exactly alike, you have a better chance of getting a valuable settlement offer when you consult with a law firm.
In some cases, getting a settlement fast or even getting it at all may be difficult if it’s hard to prove who is at fault. A lawyer can help you through this part.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get?
The two types of compensations that you can get in a hit and run accident are:
Insurance adjusters distribute compensatory damage funds to victims for all the crash expenses they incurred. Typically, it covers your medical costs and property damage.
The judge will award you punitive damages in circumstances where they needed to punish the at-fault driver for extraordinary recklessness. For example, if they smash into your car and speed away, it can reinforce your claim about their guilt and reason for requesting a larger settlement. Keep in mind that there’s often a limit to how much punitive damages you can receive.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Hit and Run?
Several factors affect how much you claim. But in most cases, this depends on the severity of your injury and the amount of available uninsured motorist insurance. The smaller the damage, the smaller the settlement amount. Hit and run accidents with a serious injury case have higher chances of winning you higher settlement values than similar cases with little or no injury.
But from our experience, payout in hit and run car accidents and personal injury cases are around $10,000 to $25,000. In some cases, settlement amounts can be up to but $50,000 and $100,000s, and it can be more. Currently, Uber passengers affected in a typical hit and run accident are eligible for a $250,000 settlement claim, provided they provide evidence of the wreckage and damage caused. This is because the Uber driver has uninsured motorist coverage with the company.
But in most cases, the amount you can claim depends on what you have in your PIP and UM insurance policy. So, for instance, if there was $50,000 in your uninsured motorist insurance and your damages and medical bill are valued at $50,000, you can file a claim for that amount.
What Factors Affect My Settlement Amount?
Aside from the amount of uninsured motorist insurance you have, the main factors that affect your settlement amount include the injuries you suffered and the worth of your pain and suffering. A statement from a medical professional explaining your predicament can help in this regard.
Another factor that might affect how much you can claim is whether or not you are at fault. If there is any slight chance that you share part of the blame, that can significantly affect how much the insurance company will be willing to pay. Finally, if you do not have uninsured motorist insurance coverage, you will have to bear the full financial weight of the damages on your own.
What Does My Hit and Run Settlement Cover?
Hit and run compensation lawsuits often cover the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, in case you missed work or fell behind a work deadline
- Pain and suffering, which includes both tangible and intangible pains and injury
- Property damage
How Do I Figure Out How Much My Claim is Worth?
You need the help of qualified personal injury lawyers to ascertain how much settlement among you can receive. Here at Berry Law Offices, we offer you the best attorney-client relationship with experienced lawyers that have worked with hundreds of clients in hit-and-run accidents.
With a free consultation, you can get our legal insight and then decide whether or not to hire us as your personal injury lawyers. Got more questions? Give us a call today at (520) 638-6496 or request your one-on-one consultation and we’ll be happy to contact you right away.