If you have been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, identifying who hit you may be the only way to recover compensation for your damages. Work with an Oakville personal injury lawyer to learn whether this is possible. If it is not, you have another option — filing a claim with your insurance. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC will help you exercise your right to compensation through either of these methods.
What Is a Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver hits someone else, then leaves the accident scene without leaving any personal information. This makes it difficult or impossible for victims to pursue legal action against them. It also may leave victims in a terrible situation.
If the victims have suffered traumatic injuries and the other driver was the only witness, they may be left to fend for themselves until someone else notices the accident and calls for help.
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Hit-and-Run Accidents Are Illegal
It is illegal to flee from the scene of an accident without providing some form of personal information to the parties you harmed. When the perpetrator is apprehended, they are often faced with criminal penalties and civil claims. While the authorities are responsible for the criminal aspect of your case, you must take action to recover compensation for yourself.
A hit-and-run lawyer in Oakville can help you figure out how to start the process.
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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance May Help
In hit-and-run cases where it is impossible to identify the motorist who hit you, your personal auto insurance policy may be able to help you with your damages. If you have a collision coverage policy, your property damage may be paid for through that portion of the policy. But, the essential coverage in these situations is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
With an uninsured and underinsured motorist policy in place, your insurance company takes liability for crashes involving drivers who do not have insurance and crashes perpetrated by drivers who fled the scene. When you file a claim with them, they may attempt to minimize your damages to mitigate their own losses, but an Oakville hit-and-run lawyer can help you keep that from happening.
Consult a lawyer before making any insurance claim following a hit-and-run accident. This will ensure that your right to compensation is upheld. If you choose to go through the process alone, you may not recover the maximum amount of payment available.
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Identifying the At-Fault Driver
After a hit-and-run incident occurs, the police should work to find out who committed the crime. You can hire a lawyer to help the process go more smoothly, but sometimes the police will do the job independently. If a routine investigation uncovers the identity of the at-fault driver, you can press criminal charges and pursue civil litigation against them.
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Filing a Claim Against a Hit-and-Run Driver
Cases where the hit-and-run driver can be identified, are pretty fortunate. You can pursue compensation from them like you would in a typical car accident. This involves proving that they were at fault for the accident and negotiating fair compensation with their insurance company.
Because they fled the scene, the chances of them being deemed negligent in court are significantly increased.
This means you should not hold back in your pursuit of compensation. Seek full compensation for all of your damages. An Oakville hit-and-run attorney will help you calculate your damages so you can accurately estimate how much compensation you are due.
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Hit-and-Run Accident Compensation
A hit-and-run accident can attract several forms of compensation, including compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Each has different specifications.
Car crashes are prone to causing significant physical injury and property damage. Your economic damages are related to the physical losses you incur from the accident. This is often represented as monetary losses, such as medical bills, wages that could not be earned due to an injury, and property damage.
In addition, lost business opportunities and the cost of rehabilitative services may also be claimed as economic damages.
A car accident’s emotional and psychological impacts can be especially devastating, especially when the accident is a hit-and-run. Hit-and-run accidents may leave someone stranded while in distress. After getting medical attention, they are left to worry about whether they will have the money to pay for their expenses if the at-fault driver is not caught.
This must be considered when calculating your hit-and-run accident damages. Civil courts accept claims for non-economic damages related to less tangible losses. Some non-economic losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Distressed emotions
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Development of a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Punitive damages are levied against defendants whose behavior was flagrantly negligent. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter future negligence. The amount you are due in punitive damages depends on the discretion of the judge or jury that sees your case.
The Law Is on Your Side
If the person who hit you has been identified, understand that the law is on your side. Now it is only a matter of determining how much compensation is due. If you cannot identify the at-fault driver, an insurance policy may still protect you from the full financial burden of the hit-and-run accident.
Either way, a hit-and-run attorney in Oakville can help you maximize the amount of compensation you recover. To get in touch with one today, contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC to schedule a free consultation appointment.