When accidents cause either personal injury or property damage in excess of $1,000, individuals are required by law to stop and notify law enforcement. If a driver fails to do so, he or she has engaged in a hit-and-run accident.
Recovering compensation after a negligent driver flees the scene can be difficult, especially if the victim was unable to identify the at-fault driver. Fortunately, help is available from an Omaha hit-and-run accident lawyer. Aggressive attorneys could conduct an independent investigation of the accident to determine liability. If they find that you have grounds for a lawsuit, they could fight tirelessly for your interests.
Common Fact Patterns
There are a few common fact patterns in hit-and-run cases. Many involve drugs or alcohol, and the at-fault driver flees the scene to avoid a drunk driving charge.
A hit-and-run could also occur if one of the drivers has issues with law enforcement, or perhaps there is a warrant out for his or her arrest. In some cases, individuals may flee the scene because they do not have insurance and are concerned about potential citations.
The immigration status of one of the participants of the accident is another consideration. Some drivers might be motivated to hit and run out of fear that if they stay and talk to law enforcement, it might have an adverse impact on their immigration status.
What Makes Hit-and-Run Accidents Unique?
A hit-and-run accident is different from most other car crashes because it takes the next step of becoming a crime. If someone has left the scene of an accident without notifying law enforcement as required, he or she has engaged in criminal conduct.
If a negligent driver receives a criminal charge, he or she is not automatically liable for your injuries and property damages. However, you can file a lawsuit against the hit and run driver once law enforcement identifies him or her.
In some case, the injured party in the accident may also be the driver who left the scene. In this case, that motorist may be criminally liable even though he or she is not civilly liable for the accident.
How an Attorney Could Help
One of the ways an attorney could help with hit-and-run accident claims is by serving as a liaison between the victim and law enforcement or between the victim and the insurance carrier. It may take days, weeks, or months to identify the at-fault driver, and an injured person may not want to wait that long before obtaining a new car or paying medical bills.
By working with the individual’s own insurance company, an attorney could help the victim use any available Med-Pay benefits to cover medical bills as they come in. They can help gather evidence such as witnesses and camera footage.
Potential Compensation in an Auto Collision Case
Even if the at-fault driver cannot be located after fleeing the scene of the accident, you may still be able to receive compensation from your insurance provider through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, your potential compensation can be limited depending on the damage caps specified in your insurance policy. For those who do not have that type of coverage included in their policy, it is still important to contact the insurance company after the hit and run.
The compensation you may receive in a hit and run case can cover your economic and non-economic losses. Special damages, also termed economic damages, are readily-ascertainable amounts of money that someone has lost.
For example, if someone was injured in an auto accident and was in the hospital for a month, he or she has economic damages representing the amount of lost wages. Also included would be medical bills and the cost of the damage to one’s vehicle.
Non-economic damages, or general damages, are the ones that require judgment as to the value. Those consist of loss of bodily function and pain and suffering.
Contact a Dedicated Omaha Hit-and-Run Attorney
If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. However, these cases can be difficult to navigate alone. For help seeking the compensation you deserve, contact an Omaha hit-and-run accident attorney today.