Hit-and-run accidents can be a devastating experience for those involved. They not only cause physical and emotional harm to the victim but also leave them with the financial burden of medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Understanding the legal consequences and victims’ rights is crucial in such situations. This article aims to provide an informative guide on what hit-and-run accidents are, the legal ramifications, and how victims can protect their rights.
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What are Hit-and-Run Accidents?
A hit-and-run accident is an incident in which a driver involved in an accident fails to stop or provide their contact information to the other driver or pedestrian involved. In most cases, the driver flees the scene without waiting for law enforcement or medical assistance to arrive. Hit-and-run accidents can range from minor fender benders to serious accidents resulting in severe injuries or death.
Legal Consequences of Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents are considered a serious offense in all states in the US. The legal consequences vary depending on the severity of the accident and the degree of damage or injury caused. In most states, hit-and-run accidents are classified as a misdemeanor or felony offense, with penalties ranging from fines, license suspension, community service, and imprisonment.
In a misdemeanor hit-and-run case, the driver may face a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months. In more severe cases, such as when a victim is injured or killed, the driver may face a felony charge, which carries steeper penalties, including significant fines and longer prison terms. In some cases, the driver’s license may be revoked, and they may be required to complete a rehabilitation program before being allowed to drive again.
Victims’ Rights in Hit-and-Run Accidents
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it’s essential to know your rights as a victim. Victims have the right to pursue legal action against the driver responsible for the accident, including filing a civil lawsuit or seeking compensation from their insurance company.
One of the first things a victim should do is to contact law enforcement immediately after the accident. The police will investigate the incident and attempt to identify the driver responsible for the accident. If the driver is found, they will be charged and prosecuted for their actions.
In addition to reporting the accident to the police, victims should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if there are no visible injuries, it’s important to get a medical evaluation to ensure there are no underlying health issues that could cause complications later on.
Victims should also document as much information about the accident as possible, including taking photos of the scene, getting contact information from any witnesses, and keeping a record of any medical expenses or lost wages incurred as a result of the accident.
Protecting Your Rights as a Hit-and-Run Accident Victim
If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, it’s important to protect your rights and take steps to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Here are some ways you can protect your rights as a victim:
Hire an Attorney
Hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in hit-and-run accidents can help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and other damages.
File a Claim with Your Insurance Company
If you have auto insurance, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company for compensation for your injuries and property damage. An attorney can help you navigate this process and ensure that you receive fair compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
As mentioned earlier, seeking medical attention is critical after a hit-and-run accident. Even if you feel fine, it’s essential to get checked out to ensure that there are no underlying health issues that could cause complications later on.
Keep Records of Your Expenses
Keeping track of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Make sure to keep all receipts and records of any expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
Do Not Speak with Insurance Adjusters Without Your Attorney
Insurance adjusters may try to contact you to settle your claim quickly and for less than what you are entitled to. It’s essential to consult with your Shelly Leeke Law Firm | hit-and-run accident attorney before speaking with any insurance adjusters to ensure that you receive fair compensation. By understanding the legal consequences and victims’ rights in hit-and-run accidents, individuals can be better prepared to handle these situations if they ever arise.
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With a BA in communications and paralegal experience, Irma Dengler decided to make the best of her writing skills. She decided to turn complicated legal matters into something more palatable for the masses. Therefore, Irma became a law communicator who writes about everyday problems so everyone can understand them and take the appropriate action. She specialized in personal injury cases, as they are more common than anyone thinks, but her areas of expertise also include civil law, criminal law, insurance-related issues, and more.