Hit and Run Accident
Obtaining Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident
If you are involved in an accident where the at-fault party does not stick around to accept responsibility (sometimes called a “hit and run”), you may still be able to obtain compensation for your damages and injuries.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
In all states, including Arizona, drivers have a duty of care after causing an accident. In Arizona, failing to remain at the scene of an accident and fulfill this duty of care is considered a crime. After an accident, drivers are required to do the following:
- Exchange names, vehicle registration numbers, and addresses.
- Show their driver’s license to the victim if they request it.
- Provide reasonable assistance to any person who is injured, including calling 911.
If the owner of a vehicle that is part of the accident is not at the scene, the at-fault driver is responsible for trying to locate the owner of the vehicle. If they are unable to contact the owner of the vehicle, they are required to leave a note in an obvious location on the damaged vehicle that includes their name, insurance information, and phone number. Failing to leave such a note is considered a hit and run.
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident you are not required to press criminal charges, though that is an option that you can pursue. A judge could order the at-fault driver pay you restitution as part of their sentence. Unfortunately, restitution orders frequently get paid overtime due to the inability of some to pay a lump sum. This could create a financial hardship on you since your vehicle has been damaged, and you have incurred medical expenses. The criminal process can take a very long time, and the outcome is uncertain.
Your main source of recovery will be through a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Reimbursement may include payment for medical bills both past and future, reimbursement for repairs to your vehicle, compensation for loss of wages and future earning potential, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages for the crime they committed.
If the at-fault driver cannot be located, you will be able to make a claim against your own insurance company pursuant to your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage provides you with a means of recovering damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering when the at-fault driver either cannot be located, or they do not have insurance.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
Civil lawsuits involving hit and run accident can be complex and confusing. While the insurance adjuster may claim to be on your side, they may still try to deny your claim or give you a low settlement offer. Contact the attorneys at Wattel & York today and let us handle your case so you can focus on your recovery.