Hit and run felonies are serious crimes that also warrant severe penalties for the individual who commits them. Recently a man with a criminal history dating back to the 1970’s received another prison sentence for leaving the scene of a crime in which the victim suffered life threatening injuries. The driver claimed there was a large truck in front of him and couldn’t see so he kept edging out of the lane in order to see if he could get around the truck until he finally decided to go for it, hitting a motorcyclist in the process. The driver claimed he panicked and left and it was suggested that he did this likely because he was on parole at the time. In the end, the driver apologized and pleaded guilty, offering to cooperate should the victim file a civil lawsuit case.
Along with his new prison sentence, the driver will have 8 years to pay off the fines and costs levied against him. The court made a point to notify him that he was not eligible for a Department of Corrections program that reduces his minimum sentence by about 25%.
Hit and run tragedies are devastating events so what can you do after a hit and run accident?
1. Get as much information about the fleeing car and driver as you can, including license plate number, the make, model, and color of the car, a description of accident-related damage and the direction the fleeing car was headed.
After this comes the issue of making an insurance claim which is different with at fault states and no-fault states, according to a car accident lawyer.
At Fault: In at fault states, it’s impossible to make an insurance claim when you don’t know who to make the claim against so you’ll have to rely on your own policy for compensation. If police manage to track the offender down, you can then file a civil lawsuit as was suggested by the offender in the above story. There is also a possibility that you can turn to your state’s crime victim compensation board which helps victims recoup losses even when someone isn’t convicted.
No-fault: There are about a dozen no-fault states in America which in these states, your PIP (personal injury protection) car insurance will cover your medical bills, lost earnings, and other injury-related expenses. The only caveat to be aware of is that PIP doesn’t cover vehicle damage after an accident, you’ll need a separate “collision coverage” to take care of that. Otherwise you can make a PIP claim no matter who caused the accident.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact a car accident lawyer at the Eric Roy Law Firm today.