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Hit and Run Accident Cases Generally, any person involved in an accident is required to stop, provide information and render aid, if necessary. Failure to stop after an accident is labeled as “hit and run" and can have serious consequences ranging from fines to prison time.

In most states, hit and run is a very serious charge. A first-time offender whose hit and run accident caused damage to another vehicle will be convicted of the crime and usually be required to pay the victim for damages done to the car, either through his insurance company or in fines assessed by the authorities. In certain states where insurance points are assessed, a high number of points will be tacked on for hit and run accidents. In New Jersey, for example, a hit and run violation results in eight points on a driver's license.

When the hit and run involves injuries to another person, the punishment is more severe. In this case, a driver might face fines, DMV points and the revocation of his/her driver’s license and/or insurance policy.

When the hit and run caused a person to die, the accident is considered a felony by law. The investigating police officers will ask the owner of the vehicle to give a statement and turn in the car for further investigations. At that point, it is best to consult a lawyer before releasing any information to the police.

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, an experienced lawyer will be able to assist with what steps to follow. At the same time, the attorney might be able to reduce the penalties by assessing the nature of the accident, the extent of the damage done and your cooperation with the law enforcement during the investigation.

You can claim a hit and run under your insurance coverage.

Dealing with car accidents is always irritating, especially if the person who caused your injury and/or property damage on your vehicle either doesn’t have insurance or was a hit and run driver. Fortunately, you are still able to claim damages under the uninsured motorist coverage with your own insurance company. Make sure, however, that you contact the police immediately after the accident in order to provide your insurance company with the report that stated that it was a hit and run accidentWhen any kind of motor vehicle accident occurs, state traffic laws require the drivers involved to follow certain procedures immediately after the incident. In most states, the specific procedure that must be followed depends on whether the accident: Caused damage to property only (i.e. hitting a parked vehicle); or Caused injuries to others (i.e. another driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian); or Resulted in a person's death (i.e. another driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian).Typically, state traffic laws require that any driver involved in an accident stop his or her vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so, and exchange identification and contact information with any other driver involved in the incident.

If a driver collides with an unattended vehicle or other stationary property, most states mandate that he or she make a reasonable effort to identify the property owner and alert them as to what happened by, for example:Taking down the vehicle's license number if a parked car is damaged, orLeaving a written notice at the scene (with the driver's identifying information) if other property is damaged.

After an accident involving injuries, drivers usually have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to help any injured person -- including calling for assistance from emergency medical services -- and to report the accident to local law enforcement.

Any driver who fails to fulfill their duties after being involved in an accident can receive a traffic ticket, at a minimum. In some cases, especially when an accident causes injury or death, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident can be subject to serious criminal charges such as "felony hit and run."

Hit and Run Insurance Liability Insurance liability in a hit and run accident can be complicated. Depending on your state and your particular insurance coverage these claims can be quickly resolved with minimum effort. On the other hand, insurance claims in the hit and run arena can turn into complicated questions of who has to pay. There are two main types of insurance coverage that will protect you in the event of you being a victim of a hit and run accident- uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. In some states, one or the other will be mandatory coverage’s that you must obtain before you can legally operate a vehicle. There are certain jurisdictions that will leave the procurement of these coverage’s up to you. Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage provides you with protection in the event you get into an accident with someone that doesn’t have insurance or that leaves the scene of the accident. If the other driver’s information is unavailable, having uninsured motorist coverage is key. In the case of a hit and run accident where there is no other insurance to cover your injuries, it is your uninsured motorist coverage that will kick in to take care of your medical and property damages up to your selected coverage amount.Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to uninsured motorist coverage in that will ensure that you are covered in the event of a hit and run. The difference is that underinsured coverage doesn’t kick in until after you’ve exhausted any at fault coverage available under the other driver’s insurance policy. So, hypothetically if your medical and property damages totaled $50,000 and the at-fault coverage available to you was $25,000, and your underinsured policy coverage amounts is for $15,000, you would be responsible for the remaining $10,000 of damage.Alternatives

If neither underinsured nor uninsured motorist coverage is available to you, you can either file a claim under your collision coverage or sue. Filing a claim under your collision coverage will result in you being deemed as the party at fault in the accident, and could cause an increase in rates. Suing the other party is only a feasible alternative if they can be found and they have no insurance coverage or limited coverage. An inability to pursue either one of these options will result in you having to cover your property damage and injuries yourself. Seeking Legal Advice

Just because you are dealing with your own insurance company doesn’t mean that the process will be simple and easy. Because of the various laws that deal with defining an uninsured motorist and other aspect of filing an insurance claim, you should definitely make sure to have qualified legal counsel by your side. Attorneys are experts at protecting your rights in situations like these and hiring one can make a difference in the amount you ultimately recover.

Dealing with a Hit and Run: As the Victim Involvement in a car accident is traumatic enough, without having to go thru the added complications of the person that hit you leaving the scene and you behind. Hit and runs are a frequent occurrence in today’s society and as a victim it can be a frustrating and daunting experience.Get as Much Identification Information as Possible

You can substantially increase your chances of the perpetrator being identified if you can remember some pertinent information about the other driver, including:the make, model, and color of their carany identifying characteristics of the driverthe tag number or the partial tag numberwhich direction the car headed in, andthe names of any bystanders and any information that they might have.

Pursuit of the vehicle long enough to gather gotten sufficient identification information is a viable option if you are not injured. However, under no circumstances, should you try to stop the fleeing vehicle.Contact the Authorities

Call 911 from your cell phone or get any bystanders to place the call for you. Notifying the police will allow them to present at the scene to gather as much information as possible and to begin the process of finding the person that left the scene. Even though the adrenaline rush that accompanies an accident can delay the onset of pain, it is a good idea to seek medical attention immediately. Also encourage any passengers in the car to seek medical attention as well. Contact your Insurance Agent

As soon as you hang up with the police, your very next call should be to your insurance carrier. Chances are the person that hit you won’t be found for a period of time. Even if they are found, it is common for them to have no insurance or coverage that is insufficient to pay for the damages you’ve incurred. Also, if you happen to have your digital camera on hand, take pictures of the accident scene and your car to assist your insurance company in resolving your claim.Seeking Legal Advice

Even if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you should procure the services of an attorney to make sure that your rights are protected. A licensed attorney in your area can walk you thru the filing of a claim process and even assist you in litigation against your insurance company if an issue arises. Don’t try to handle the situation alone; having an attorney by your side will increase your chances of recovering for your damages. 

What to Do After Causing a Hit and Run Accident There are a number of reasons why individuals don’t remain at the scene of an accident. Panic, not having a proper drivers license, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or lack of proper insurance are just a few. No matter what the reason, leaving the scene of an accident is never a good idea. Leaving the scene can cause you to face stiff fines and criminal charges.Property Damage

When an accident occurs you are responsible for stopping either at the scene or as close to it as possible. If the other driver is present, you are responsible for providing him or her with certain personal documentation including:NameDriver’s License information (DL Number and address)Vehicle insurance information (Carrier information and policy number), andVIN

If the owner is not present when the accident takes place, you are bound to do your best to find them. Most jurisdictions will require that you exercise reasonable effort to locate the driver. If they can’t be found, then you will still be responsible for leaving the above information in a place where it can be found. Also, it is a good idea to file a police report to serve as your official reporting of the accident.Damage to Person

Similar to the increase in criminal liability, there is an increase in care that must be taken when your hit and run accident results in injury to a person. If you leave the scene, you could be convicted of a felony and face jail time. If the person that you hit is injured you are bound by law to stay until help in the form of an ambulance has arrived. For accidents that take place in a remote area, you must bring the injured person to the nearest medical facility for proper attention.

In the event that the accident results in death you must immediately contact the highway patrol, sheriff’s office or local police department to report to the scene. Your Rights

If you leave the scene of an accident, you should return. Police departments are highly sophisticated when it comes to tracking down perpetrators that leave the scene of an accident (especially where injury to a person results, as it carries felony penalties). However there are certain measures you should take to protect yourself. First, don’t volunteer any information to the police officers. You must be cooperative, but only answer the questions asked and keep in mind that whatever you say can be used against you in court. Also, do not under any circumstances admit blame. The fault of the accident is a determination that will be made via the evidence. Seeking Legal Advice

Leaving the scene of an accident can carry minor to hefty penalties, including prison time. It is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident to obtain sound legal advice. Only an attorney licensed in your area can provide you with representation during the legal process.

Liability in a Hit and Run Accident Hit and run accidents present a more complex situation than regular car accidents, in that more often than not, the person at fault is also the person that flees the scene of the accident. There are number of reasons why individuals leave after an accident and none of them are worth the ensuing legal complications that arise from violating this law. Driving statutes are written to punish those that don’t accept responsibility for their actions, especially if the actions result in injury to an individual.Types of Hit and Run

There are three types of hit and run accidents. Whether the accident takes place in front of individuals or there are no witnesses, leaving the scene in any of these instances is against the law. First, there are those hit and runs that result only in damage to property. This usually occurs when someone hit a car in a parking lot. Next, are hit and run accidents that result in injury to an actual person, be it another driver, a passenger or a pedestrian. Finally, there are those hit and run accidents that result in actual death to an individual, another driver, passenger or pedestrian. Criminal Liability

Depending on who or what is injured, a person can be ticketed or charged with a crime. If during the course of the hit and run only property is damaged, depending on where you live, the penalty could range from a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident to being charged with a misdemeanor and facing no more than six months in the county jail. However, if there is injury to a person the situation becomes more serious. Leaving the scene of an accident in that situation is a felony in every jurisdiction within the United States. The penalties that accompany this charge can range from extensive fines, prison time, and suspension of driving privileges.Civil Liability

As with most offenses involving vehicles, civil liability for hit and run accidents is based on the principles of negligence. If civil charges are brought there will have to be a determination of the driver’s duty, breach of that duty, the breach being the cause of the victim’s injuries and of course damages. Not all people that leave the scene of an accident actually were at fault, and depending on the circumstances surrounding the event, there can be no civil liability incurred. Seeking Legal Help

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident on either side, you will need the guidance and assistance of effective legal counsel. Only a licensed attorney in your area can effectively represent you to fully protect your rights. 

Filing a Hit and Run Accident Claim Having to file an insurance claim after suffering through a hit and run accident can be a daunting task. It is imperative to your financial recovery that your claim is filed correctly or it could have a negative impact on the amount you ultimately recover. Determine your Insurance Coverage Type and Amount

Unfortunately until they are involved in a hit and run, some people aren’t sure what types of coverage’s they’ve contracted for. Residents of certain states need not worry for underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory. If you are not sure, take a look at the most recent copy of your policy. It will contain details on the types of coverage and the amounts of coverage that are available to you.Contact Your Insurance Company

You should contact your insurance company via phone as soon as you have gathered your wits about you and can provide them with basic information such as where the accident happened, any information about the other driver and /or the drivers’ car. As soon as you feasibly can you should also provide your insurance company with a copy of the police report.What Happens Next

If you have the appropriate coverage’s your insurance company will get the ball rolling on fixing your property damages, until the full extent of your injuries- if any is known. Serious injuries are usually accompanied by long term rehabilitative care and pain and suffering. These elements are recoupable out of insurance coverage- be it the other drivers or your underinsured or uninsured policy. Your insurance company has a vested interest in pursuing the insurance company of the hit and run driver, so they will conduct and assist the police with their investigation into the accident.

You will need to cooperate in any ongoing investigations into the identity of the driver and if he or she is found, there is the chance that you will be called upon to testify in court. Seeking Legal Help

For anyone involved in a hit and run accident, quickly seeking the advice of a reputable attorney is pivotal to the protection of your rights and maximum recovery of damages whether they are personal, property, or both. A licensed attorney in your area can provide you with the advice and assistance you need in making sure that you exhaust all possible methods of recouping for your loss.

What to Do After a Hitting a Pedestrian and Running If you have hit a pedestrian and left the scene, you need to act quickly and take the proper steps. If the pedestrian was injured, you likely face a potential civil lawsuit. Criminal charges are also a possibility in most locations, ranging in severity depending on the pedestrian’s condition. As such, you want to act before the police find you and identify you as the person who perpetrated the hit and run. Contacting the Police

Generally, it is a good idea to turn yourself in to law enforcement after the hit and run. Leaving the scene of the accident automatically suggests to the police that you were guilty, and can make them believe you were guilty of even more than just causing the accident; for example, many people leave the scene because they are driving drunk, driving without a license or otherwise breaking the law when they cause the accident.

In most jurisdictions, the penalty for hitting and running when a person is injured is a misdemeanor, and the penalty for hitting and running when a person is killed is a felony. If you turn yourself in and cooperate with law enforcement, the penalties may be less severe and the law enforcement officials may be more willing to make a deal with you and allow you to plea the case down in severity. In fact, if you didn’t severely injure the pedestrian, you may be able to face minimal to no jail time. What about Insurance?

If a person is suing you for a hit and run and the police are also prosecuting you at the same time for the hit and run, you face a difficult situation. You may wan to claim in the criminal trial that you didn’t hit and run, but in order to have your insurance company defend you in the civil trial, you need to admit to them that you were operating the vehicle. The police can then subpoena the insurance records and use that against you in your criminal trial.Talk to a Lawyer Immediately

After hitting a pedestrian and running, one of the first things you should do is contact a hit and run attorney. He can give you advice about whether to turn yourself in and how to go about doing so and negotiating with law enforcement to minimize your potential penalties. He can also help you to speak with your insurance company and to defend both the civil and criminal charges brought against you as a result of hitting a pedestrian and running.

What to Do After a Hitting a Car and Running If you have hit a car and run, then you may be facing some potentially serious legal consequences. Not only will you be held civilly liable for the damages you caused to the other driver, but you may also face criminal charges. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, you should think carefully about what to do after hitting a car and running. Know the Law

The laws for a hit and run differ by state, but in most cases, you will be held criminally liable for leaving the scene of an accident. Generally:You may face misdemeanor penalties. These are usually a fine and some time in jail- from between one and two years. A hit and run is usually a misdemeanor if it is a first offense and/or if the person who you hit and run was injured but did not die as a resultYou may face felony charges if the person you hit and run died or if the accident was especially severe. Felony charges may involve over a year in jail as well as large finesYour license will often be suspended

You must learn the specific definition of hit and run and the rules and laws of your state so you can know what to be prepared for after hitting a car and running. Turn Yourself In

Before you contact your insurance company or do anything else, you likely want to consider turning yourself in to the police. If you turn yourself in, the prosecutors are more likely to show leniency in regards to arranging a plea bargain, and the judge is more likely to be lenient in sentencing. This is especially true if the damage done by the accident was minor. In fact, you may be able to escape jail time entirely if the damage was minor, if no one was seriously injured and/or if you cooperate with the police. Understand Your Insurance Information Isn’t Confidential

If you are sued as a result of a hit and run driver and you want your insurance company to defend the lawsuit, you will have to admit to them that you were in fact operating the vehicle. Otherwise they will not cover your legal bills.

Unfortunately, his means if you admit that to the insurance company, the police can subpoena their records and use that as evidence against you in a criminal case to prove you in fact did hit and run. Therefore, you need to think carefully about what information you disclose to your insurance company and when.Finding Legal Help

Generally, before you speak to your insurance company, or before you turn yourself in, you should speak to an experienced hit and run attorney. The attorney should be able to explain the laws in your area, and should be able to help you interface with law enforcement to minimize the penalties associated with the hit and run incident.

What to Do if You're the Victim of a Hit and Run As the victim of a hit and run accident, you may wonder what you should do. You may be facing injury, financial loss, medical bills and a damaged car or property. Although you may be scared and angry, there are several things you should do as the victim after a hit and run accident. Immediately After the Accident

If someone hits you and leaves, there are certain steps you should take immediately after the accident:Assess your medical condition. Do you need help? If so, contact an ambulance immediately on your cell phone if you are able to or try to attract the attention of a passing car who may be able to come to your aidWrite down any details or information you can remember about the car who hit you. The color of the car, the license plate number or letters (or at least part of them), and any details about the driver can all be importantAsk for the names and addresses of any witnesses at the scene. They may be able to help you later if the hit and run driver is identifiedCall the police immediately. They can come to the scene to write up an accident report and to access what happened.Contact your own insurance company. If the hit and run driver cannot be found, then they may provide you with coverage. Exploring Your Recovery Options

If you have been hit by a hit and run driver, you may not be able to recover your damages from that person’s insurance company unless the police are able to identify the driver and track him down. As such, your recovery may be limited. For many people, they can recover under the terms of their own insurance policies; however, such recovery depends on you having the appropriate type of coverage. For example:If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company will essentially stand in for the driver and pay the money he would have had to pay you, had he stopped the car as he should have. If the driver is ever found, your insurance company can then sue him- or his insurance company- to get their money back.If you have personal injury protection, this will automatically cover your injuries and medical bills. You may be limited in recovering for pain and suffering damages

If you don’t have the appropriate types of coverage, you may have to pay out of pocket. If so, you can sue and get the money spent back from the other driver if the police identify him.Finding Legal Help

An experienced hit and run attorney can help you with every step of the process. He can help you to determine what type of coverage may pay your bills, as well as how you should proceed ins peaking with your insurance company regarding the hit and run accident.

Should I Turn Myself In After a Hit and Run? The question of should I turn myself in after a hit and run can be difficult to answer. Some part of you may hope you get away with it and that you don’t have to face the potential civil and criminal charges associated with hitting and running. Still, it is usually a good idea to turn yourself in after a hit and run before the police find you. Why Turn Yourself In

In addition to civil liability for the damage you caused from the accident, you also face potential criminal charges. While the laws vary by state, generally:A hit and run in which a person was injured can lead to misdemeanor charges with penalties of a fine and up to 1-2 years in prisonA hit and run in which a person was killed can lead to felony charges with more severe penalties and a minimum of 1 year or more in prisonYou may lose your license as a result of a hit and run accident or face suspension or probation

In order to avoid these penalties, you may think it is best not to turn yourself in and to hope that the police just never find you. However, the police do investigate hit and runs carefully, especially if someone was injured or killed. There may be witnesses at the scene, the driver may have remembered something, and the police may check with garages and repair shops in your area or do other investigative work to find you. Benefits of Turning Yourself In

If you turn yourself in and cooperate with law enforcement, then the district attorney or prosecutor may be more willing to make a deal with you and allow you to plead to lesser charges. If you didn’t actually injure someone severely or kill them, you may even be able to avoid jail time entirely or get a suspended sentence.

In addition, if you are sued, your insurance company will not pay your legal bills or defend you unless you admit to operating the vehicle at the time of the accident. If you turn yourself in, you can then take responsibility to your insurance company who will indemnify you in the civil lawsuit the injured victim may bring. Getting Legal Help

You may wish to speak to an attorney about the benefits and risks of turning yourself in. Rest assured, anything you say to the attorney will be confidential and if you do not choose to turn yourself in after your conversation, your lawyer generally cannot go to the police and turn you in against your will. If you do decide to turn yourself in, your attorney can help you to understand the potential consequences and can help you talk to law enforcement and potentially negotiate a deal.

Defending a Hit and Run Charge Defending a hit and run charge can be very difficult for several reasons. First, because you left the scene of the accident, the police or law enforcement officials may presume you were guilty of causing the accident in its entirety, since fleeing the scene suggests guilt. Second, if you contact your insurance company and admit to the hit and run in order to get them to pay your damages from a civil lawsuit, the police can use the information in those insurance files against you in a criminal case. Defending Against the Charges

There are a limited array of defenses you have when charged with hit and run. Generally, you can try to introduce reasonable doubt as to whether you in fact committed the hit and run in the first place. If the police have your license plate number or information, however, this defense may not be successful as they may be able to prove you were at the scene.

If the police know you were at the scene, you can attempt to prove that the accident was not your fault. While this may not be able to help you avoid charges of fleeing the scene of the accident, it can help to avoid other charges such as reckless endangerment charges or DUI charges if the police believe you fled the scene due to intoxication. Mounting a Defense

Generally, there are several things you can do to defend yourself against hit and run charges. You can bring in experts to help reconstruct the scene of the accident. You can try to provide evidence tat you didn’t actually cause the accident, or that there were intervening factors that led to the collision. You can also try to prove that there were exigent circumstances leading up to the accident or explaining why you left the scene. This may not help you to be absolved of the criminal charges entirely, but it may lessen the severity of your sentence. Civil Defenses

A civil lawsuit for hit and run is different from a criminal lawsuit; in such cases, instead of facing legal penalties, you face monetary loss. The plaintiff who you hit will sue you to recover for his damages.

Your insurance company will defend you only if you admit to being present and operating the vehicle. Remember, though, that this information can be used against you in your criminal trial. Getting Legal Help

Getting help from an experienced hit and run attorney is essential if you are faced with either civil or criminal charges resulting from a hit and run. An attorney can help you mount appropriate defenses and can help you to balance the interests in both civil and criminal cases.

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