Car accident cases are complicated. They become more so when a claim involves a collision caused by a hit-and-run driver.
If you were injured in a car accident involving a hit-and-run driver, you may now wonder what steps you need to take. You may wonder whether or not you need to hire a car accident attorney to represent you in your case. In fact, a number of reasons exist as to why you need to hire a personal injury attorney in your case.
The Hit-and-Run Driver is Never Found
If the hit-and-run driver that caused the accident is never found, you are likely to be left in the position of striving to obtain the compensation you need from your own insurance company. If you were in your own car at the time of the accident, you will be seeking compensation from your automobile insurance company.
If you were a pedestrian at the time of the accident, you may find yourself dealing with multiple insurance companies. For example, you may be dealing with your health insurer to cover your medical bills. You may be attempting to obtain other types of compensation from your homeowner’s policy, depending on the terms and conditions of that insurance.
The stark reality is that identifying what insurance coverage may be available to you in a situation in which you are injured by a hit-and-run driver can be highly complicated. A layperson, no matter how intelligence, simply does not have the background necessary to piece all of this together.
The situation of being injured by a never-identified hit-and-run driver clearly demonstrates the need for a qualified car accident lawyer. This type of attorney can schedule an initial consultation to discuss strategies to address obtaining compensation for your losses when the other driver cannot be found.
The Hit-and-Run Driver is Found and Criminally Prosecuted
Another scenario involves a case in which the hit-and-run driver is found and ultimately prosecuted. In the U.S. criminal justice system, there are four general possible conclusions to a criminal case:
- plea to lesser charge
- guilty verdict
- not guilty verdict
Timing can be everything when it comes to pursuing a car accident lawsuit against someone that is facing prosecution for committing a hit-and-run accident. You do need to keep in mind that if the driver ended up being found not guilty, that does not mean you have no grounds for a civil lawsuit. The requirements to convict a person of a crime are much higher than those associated with a civil lawsuit.
If the driver is found, and has automobile insurance, the dynamics of a claim change significantly. The claim is pursued against the other driver’s insurance company.
The Hit-and-Run Driver is Found and Not Criminally Prosecuted
Another scenario involves a hit-and-run driver being found, but not prosecuted. In such a case, their are no criminal proceedings to plan around. Moreover, if the driver does have automobile insurance, it is that insurer that will come into play when it comes to your claim for compensation.
Compensation in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident Case
The nature and extent of compensation in a hit-and-run car accident case depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of the incident. With that understood, there are some types of losses that typically are compensated in this type of automobile accident case. These include:
- medical bills and expenses
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- permanent injury or disability
- lost wages
A personal injury attorney understands what tactics to employ to optimize compensation paid to you in your case. In addition, a lawyer can be vital in ensuring that you obtain future compensation as well. The reality is that you may continue to experience costs and losses into the future. For example, you may continue to need medical care and treatment for an indefinite period of time. In addition, you may endure pain and suffering into the future as well.
Finally, if a lawsuit is brought, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages represent additional compensation. It is awarded because oftentimes the conduct of a hit-and-run driver in leaving the scene is considered particularly reckless or egregious.
Retain Legal Representation
No matter the exact scenario following a hit-and-run accident, you best protect your rights and interests with an experienced car accident lawyer. A car accident attorney will schedule an initial consultation with you to discuss the best strategy for your case. A personal injury attorney in this type of situation usually does not charge a fee for an initial consultation.