If you are like most people, every so often you hear or read about someone who have been seriously injured or killed in a hit and run accident. The person is often left lying injured on the side of a roadway, only to be discovered by a subsequent motorist. Most of the times, the accident leaves family members wondering not only what happened, but who is going to pay for the expenses associated with the accident.
If you, or your family happens to be experiencing the outcome of a hit and run accident, understanding the crime, the penalties, and your rights, may help you recover any expenses you have incurred.
What Is A Hit And Run Accident?
The definition of hit and run accidents is basically self explanatory. They are accidents which occur in which the driver causing the accident leaves the scene of the accident and fails to identify themselves. These types of accidents can occur in many different situations. It can involve:
- Two or more vehicles
- A bicyclist and a vehicle
- A pedestrian and a vehicle
- A vehicle and private property
In most states a driver is not only required to stop, but they are also required to share their insurance information, and seek emergency services if necessary. Even if there is only property damage involved, the person causing the property damage is expected to leave their contact information for the property owner.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for a Hit And Run?
The penalties of a hit and run accident vary from state to state. In many states the penalties associated with a hit and run are directly related to the amount of damage, as well as whether or not there were injuries as a result of the accident.
For example, In the state of Texas, if the collision causes less than $200 in damages, it is only a class C misdemeanor. If the accident causes more than $200 in damages, but does not involve any injuries, it is only a class B misdemeanor, but if there are serious bodily injuries associated with the accident it can be a third degree felony. If the accident involves a fatality, it can be a second degree felony.
Who Can You Recover From?
Of course your first line of recovery in a hit and run accident would be from the person who caused the accident. If the police is able to locate this person, not only will they be able to persecute them under the law, you will be able to file against any insurance they may, or even file a civil suit to recover any type of damages you are entitled to.
But what happens if this person cannot be located? If the person responsible cannot be located, the victim or victim's family, may be able to receive financial compensation from the victim's personal insurance provider. This is in the form of uninsured, or under-insured motorist coverage. Policies vary from company to company, as will the exact amount of compensation available.
In certain jurisdictions, victims may be able to access funding through a special victim assistance programs available through the state. In some states these are grant funded programs, and in other states they are funded by fees collected directly by the courts. These funds are generally available to any victim or dependent family member of crime victims.
What Can You Recover?
It does not matter if you file a personal injury claim, or a wrongful death claim, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation for the following:
- Associated medical bills
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Other expenses and damages
Unfortunately, recovering in a hit and run accident is not an easy process. An experienced and knowledgeable accident and injury attorney in your state will be able to tell you the specifics of your state's laws, as well as help you know your recovery options. Visit resources like http://www.danielgoodmanlaw.com to learn more.