Motor vehicle accidents kill tens of thousands of people in the United States every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported over 36,000 motor vehicle fatalities in 2018. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, one pedestrian is killed in a motor vehicle accident about every 90 minutes. These accidents lead to annual losses that run in the tens of billions of dollars every year in the form of medical treatment expenses, lost income, lost business productivity, and insurance administration.
Any accident can be traumatic and can lead to serious, long-term damages and losses, but hit and run accidents are particularly difficult to handle because of the absence of an at-fault party. If you were involved in a hit and run accident, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. at (631) 600-0000. Our Oakdale hit and run accident lawyer can help you file a claim for damages and guide you regarding what you need to know about your rights and responsibilities after the fact.
Hit and run accidents often occur between two vehicles, but they can also involve a vehicle and a pedestrian or a vehicle and roadside property.
Although it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident, many people do so–and for various reasons. Depending on the specifics of your case, possible explanations for a driver fleeing the scene of an accident after striking someone or something include the following:
- The driver may not have realized that he or she struck someone or something.
- The driver may not have the requisite insurance coverage to cover the losses he or she caused.
- The driver may have been breaking the law in some way while driving, such as driving distracted, under the influence, or speeding.
- Serious accidents–those that lead to substantial property damage, catastrophic bodily injuries, or a fatality–can lead to prison time and high fines, and a driver may drive off hoping to evade such penalties.
- A driver may panic and drive off without thinking about the consequences of his or her actions.
If the at-fault driver responsible for a hit and run accident is ever identified, they can face civil charges for the damages they caused. He or she may even face criminal charges if they were, for example, evading the police or committing a crime when the accident occurred.
Common Injuries and Damages
Hit and run accidents can lead to the same losses and damages that other motor vehicle accidents such as T-bone accidents and frontal or rear-end accidents can cause. These injuries include:
- Head, brain, and facial injuries
- Spinal cord, neck, and back injuries
- Broken, fractured, or crushed bones
- Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- The loss of function of a body part
- Emotional pain and suffering
Other damages you may sustain in or after a hit and run accident include:
- Vehicle and property damage
- Lost income or lower earning potential
- Medical care, rehabilitation, and diagnostic testing expenses
- Ambulance fees
- Surgery expenses
- Higher insurance costs
- Funeral or burial expenses
A major difference between regular accidents and hit and run accidents is the insurance that comes into play for such accidents. We discuss insurance for hit and run accidents in the section below.
According to the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), you can only legally operate a motor vehicle in New York if you have:
- No-fault (Personal Injury Protection–PIP) insurance
- Liability insurance
- Uninsured motorist coverage
In a regular accident, you would typically use your no-fault PIP coverage to pay for medical treatment and other necessary expenses after an accident–up to a limit of $50,000 per person. Liability insurance is what you would use to protect yourself if someone sues you for being negligent or at fault for causing an accident.
However, for hit and run accidents and assuming the at-fault party is never identified, your uninsured motorist coverage will kick in. Uninsured motorist coverage provides bodily injury protection for you, members of your household, and the occupants of your vehicle if you are struck by a hit and run motorist or an uninsured vehicle.
Uninsured motorist coverage minimums are the same as those of liability insurance– $25,000 for non-fatal injuries and $50,000 for fatal injuries that occur to one person per accident, double those amounts for injuries to–or the deaths of–two or more people per accident.
Handling insurance paperwork, understanding your rights and responsibilities, and dealing with insurance agents can be difficult. However, they are important parts of getting your life back on track after an accident. For assistance, call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. at (631) 600-0000. If you hire us to represent you, our Oakdale hit and run accident lawyer can walk you through what you need to know about your case, and we can help you gather evidence and file a claim with your insurer.
Do Not Despair After a Hit and Run Accident
Hit and run accidents are highly common–there is one hit and run accident every minute in the United States, as per the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA)–but you are not alone, and we are here to help. The medical expenses, lost income, and mental anguish that a hit and run accident can cause can be substantial, but we will help you file a claim and work toward a compensation settlement based on the insurance policies you hold and the specifics of your case.
For a free consultation and case evaluation, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. at (631) 600-0000. Our Oakdale hit and run accident lawyer can help you:
- Gather evidence to prove your accident
- Gather evidence to help quantify your losses and damages
- Understand the insurance policies that apply to you
- Find the medical treatment you need
- Negotiate with your insurer
Statutes of limitations apply, and you must file a claim within these statutes if you are to receive any compensation for covered losses or damages after your hit and run accident. It can also take time to gather evidence and build a case. Do not hesitate to call us today to get things started with your claim.