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 hit-and-run accident 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. Theoretically, the two are separate. If one driver receives a criminal charge, he or she is not automatically liable for the victim’s damages. One could actually be the victim of the accident and also the driver who left the scene. In this case, the driver may be criminally liable even though he or she is not liable for the accident.
Potential compensation can also be limited after a hit-and-run accident. If the at-fault driver cannot be located, victims are limited to making a claim against the underinsured/uninsured motorist provision of their own auto insurance carrier. Depending on the type of policy they have, they could be looking at very insignificant damage caps that do not provide full satisfaction.
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.
Recoverable Damages in an Auto Collision Case
Recoverable damages in a hit and run case include economic and non-economic damages. 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 use of the body 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.