A hit and run accident usually causes a few unique legal issues. There are significant criminal and civil consequences for the party that leaves the scene, as well as complications for victims seeking compensation. Legal consequences for the responsible party are generally more severe than those that result from ordinary car accidents. It is important to understand the responsibilities of the drivers and the civil and criminal consequences of fleeing the scene of an accident. It is also better to know the recovery options for the victim of a hit and run accident, even if you have never been involved in one.
Duties of the drivers involved in a car accident
If a driver is involved in any type of accident, there are certain things they must do. In the case of car accidents that result in injury, the minimum an uninjured driver is generally required to do is alert emergency services. Some states require more, such as waiting with the victim to receive medical help if necessary. Police should always be alerted if the accident is severe. Another necessary step for the drivers is exchanging contact and insurance information at the scene, if possible.
Civil consequences of committing a hit and run
The main consequence of a hit and run injury lawsuit is that the plaintiff will probably be able to recover punitive damages. These damages are available when the defendant recklessly causes harm or acts in a careless and dangerous manner. The plaintiff can be entitled to damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for bad conduct. Amounts are designed to punish in proportion to the wealth of the defendant. The richer or poorer the defendant, the higher or lower the damage amount can be. Every driver should be aware of their responsibility at the scene of a car accident. For this reason, committing a hit and run will usually be considered morally wrong and worthy of punitive damages. The fleeing driver in a hit and run accident will be punished accordingly.
Criminal consequences of committing a hit and run
Depending on injuries and damage, the criminal penalties for a hit and run accident can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you flee the scene and have reason to believe someone is injured, you may face jail time if they were injured or killed. A criminal conviction may be used as evidence in a civil case based on the same hit and run accident. Criminal conviction is evidence of liability, and it may lead to a faster resolution for a civil case.
Who pays for injuries and damage?
Victims of hit and run accidents are often left with no other choice but to collect from their own insurance policies. If the running driver is found, they can be held accountable. In most states, the best option for compensation is to make an uninsured motorist claim. However, filing a personal injury lawsuit can also be an option.
If you were injured in a hit and run car accident and you would like to learn more about your options, contact Attorney Dean Boyd. Call us today at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our services. You can also visit our office at 4423 SW 45th Ave in Amarillo, Texas or 5012 50th St #103 in Lubbock, Texas for more information about how we can help you.