A hit-and-run accident occurs when the parties involved in a motor vehicle collision leaves the scene without providing any information. Hit and run accidents can be punished under criminal law in Pennsylvania, but they are also the subject of personal injury cases.
Compensation for a hit and run is usually addressed in the injured person’s insurance policy, and there are additional duties for notice and for reporting than would usually apply in a car accident case. If you have been injured in an accident after which the other driver fled the scene, a Western PA hit and run accident lawyer could be able to help you recover adequate compensation. A dedicated car accident lawyer could also help to explain your rights, answer your questions, and guide you through the legal process.
A common fact pattern surrounding hit-and-run accidents in Indiana County is a driver fleeing the scene out of fear of criminal consequences for a separate offense. For example, if a driver involved in an accident knows that there is a warrant for their arrest, they may decide to leave the scene rather than risk arrest by responding officers.
Often, a hit and run will involve someone who is driving while impaired, whether by alcohol or drugs. They could also be carrying something in their vehicle that is illegal, such as drugs or other contraband. As a result, it is important that drivers involved do not attempt to follow or pursue a fleeing driver on their own.
One thing that an individual has to understand in a hit and run accident is that there are two insurance policies in play. Under Pennsylvania law, insurance companies are required to offer what is called under-insured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is coverage that applies where the other party is either uninsured or cannot be identified. In a hit-and-run accident, sometimes that third party is not able to be identified, and in that case, the injured party has to look to their own insurance policy to make a recovery. Under-insured motorist coverage applies when a driver’s insurance is not sufficient to cover the damages of an accident.
In a hit and run accident, as with any motor vehicle collision in Indiana County, the injured party can recover economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include lost wages, lost earning capacity, and medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation, loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures, scarring and permanent disfigurement.
After being injured in a hit-and-run accident, the most important step to take is to make sure that they and any passengers are okay and to contact the police or emergency personnel if anyone is injured.
The second step after an accident is to collect evidence from the scene or try to identify the at-fault driver by any means, whether it is a picture or the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate.
Finally, the third step is to contact a personal injury attorney for help collecting additional evidence, as well as help navigating the automobile insurance policy and medical insurance policies.
When an individual is making an uninsured motorist claim under their own policy because of a hit-and-run accident, there are often very specific notice requirements. These include notice of the date and time of the collision or the circumstances that led to the injury and notice of the relevant injuries. A Western PA hit and run accident lawyer could help meet these requirements and work to ensure that an injured driver recovers compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.