Car accidents are traumatic, especially in the immediate aftermath of the incident. However, a hit-and-run accident is more traumatizing because the at-fault driver does not stay at the scene to exchange information or offer assistance as they should under the law. When a driver leaves the scene, it is a crime, and you will have legal options as a victim.
Many questions arise after a hit-and-run, and you must speak with a Southaven personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, to review your options.
Reasons Why Drivers Leave the Scene of an Accident
There is no excuse for a motorist to leave the scene of an accident, but it is good to know why a driver does leave, as it can help you move past the situation. Intoxication is the main reason drivers leave because they are incoherent and afraid of the consequences of intoxicated driving. While drivers must have insurance, many do not and will flee the scene to avoid repercussions.
Sometimes motorists already have legal trouble and choose to leave an accident to avoid getting caught for their original crime. Most often, the driver is fearful of the consequences of a car accident and will make an impulse decision to run away. There are times when drivers will pull over and attempt to resolve the issue but do not exchange contact information which is, in a sense, similar to a hit-and-run.
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Consequences for Leaving the Scene
If a hit-and-run driver is caught, they will face criminal penalties from fines to incarceration, depending on the outcome of the injuries. Fines range from $100 to $5,000, and jail time is from 30 days to one year.
The consequences are much steeper in a hit-and-run, resulting in disfigurement, death, mutilation, or permanent disability. Fines range from $1,000 to $10,000, and imprisonment is from five to 20 years. Additionally, all hit-and-run accidents result in the perpetrator losing their license.
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The Factors of Compensation
The insurance company will try to settle for the minimum amount when you file a claim. They will not consider all factors, but a Southaven hit-and-run lawyer will. Several compensation factors will affect your payment:
- Repair costs
- Insurance coverage
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Psychological trauma
- Pain and suffering
- The severity of your injuries
Do not shortchange yourself when filing a claim. Always work with a lawyer.
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You can be understandably apprehensive to file a claim and may even wait until the situation becomes unbearable before you take any action. That is a mistake since there are deadlines to consider both from the state and insurance companies. Mississippi has a three-year statute for personal injury cases; you cannot recover compensation once it passes.
The time limit for hit-and-run accidents begins from the date of the accident. In comparison, the insurance company also has deadlines, typically a few days after the accident but can extend to a few weeks. Non-compliance with the insurance deadline will harm your claim and result in a dismissal.
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Driver Negligence Is the Cause
Nearly 90 percent of car accidents result from human error, meaning the driver made a decision that led to the collision. The driver can take several negligent actions that will result in crashes. Most often, the negligent act is a distraction, like using the phone to text or check social media.
Speeding is another cause of accidents, and when a person is speeding, they will often continue speeding to avoid the repercussions after an accident. Drunk driving is another common cause of accidents, and nearly 800 drunk driving accidents happen daily. A general lack of breaking the law, like running a red light or stop sign, can also contribute to driver negligence and hit-and-runs.
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Where Compensation Comes from in a Car Accident Case
Since the driver fled the scene, you do not have the information you need to sue their insurance company. However, you have your policy and are eligible to file a claim if you have uninsured motorist coverage. The provision comes standard with most insurance policies unless you choose to opt out, which is never recommended.
When the Driver Is Found, There Are Other Options
The authorities can locate the driver after a hit-and-run accident with enough identifying information. However, you may already have a settlement. Not to worry, you can file for punitive damages and recover additional awards for their negligence.
How a Southaven Lawyer Can Help
When a hit-and-run accident occurs, the legal landscape for filing a claim becomes more complex. Instead of suing the other driver, you need to look for alternatives. A Southaven hit-and-run lawyer will help in several ways to get you the justice you deserve. We will work with insurance adjusters from your insurer to secure your compensation.
There are different ways to settle your claim, and we will look at every avenue possible. Most importantly, we will calculate the value of your claim and ensure you get fair compensation. Negligent Southaven drivers must be held responsible for their actions, and if we find the ghost driver, we will fight them in court, even after you settle a claim.
Laws help accident victims obtain compensation and receive medical care after an accident. Drivers must stop after an accident and render aid if there are injuries. If there are no injuries and only property damage, the drivers must pull over and exchange information to file insurance claims.
Accidents that result in injury require any able-bodied person in either vehicle to call for emergency medical attention. Striking a car that does not have a driver, such as in a parking lot, requires the driver to attempt to locate the driver and leave a note with contact information and information regarding the incident.
Speak with a Southaven Hit And Run Lawyer
Car accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in Mississippi, and we rank sixth highest in the nation for traffic deaths. Aside from fatal accidents, there are also severe injuries that can lead to lifelong ailments and losses. You can obtain compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and more with the help of our Southaven hit-and-run lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC.
Call our office to schedule a consultation today.