Of all the types of crashes that car accident attorneys must deal with, hit-and-run crashes are among the most difficult. This occurs when the plaintiff is unable to identify who the at-fault party is – also known as an uninsured motorist claim. Do not give up on compensation because you cannot locate the driver; a Cook County hit and run accident lawyer is available to help you through the next steps.
Whenever there is an accident in Cook County, the law requires the involved driver to stop and, at a minimum, exchange information with the other driver. Usually, the police will come to the scene and create a police report. Unfortunately, some people make the choice not to stop following an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is a separate traffic offence.
If the authorities are able to identify the vehicle which fled the scene and they are later apprehended, they will receive additional traffic tickets. Sometimes, however, an accident will occur and the other driver will flee the scene before anyone can make an identification. In these situations, the insurance company for the damaged vehicle considers this a hit and run uninsured motorist claim.
The big difference between a hit and run accident and a routine car accident is the ability to identify the at fault driver. Ultimately, it may not make a difference in the amount of settlement received, since most drivers have uninsured motorist coverage. This means that their insurance will compensate them for any damages incurred as the result of a hit and run driver. The only difference between a hit and run and a liability claim is who ultimately pays the settlements.
A hit-and-run accident attorney in Cook County may be able to take steps to identify the driver who fled the scene. It is common for businesses and even homeowners to have security cameras which can sometimes lead to clues in a hit and run accident.
Even if the driver cannot be identified, the claim is still filed with an insurance company. Simply because the uninsured motorist claim is with their insurance company, does not mean that their insurance company will treat them fairly.
The insurance company will always try to minimize the amount of money they pay out on a claim. Even if it is their own insurance company in a hit and run accident, an injured person should not automatically expect to be treated fairly without the assistance of legal counsel.
The damages in a hit and run case are the same as in any other personal injury case. The only difference is that the uninsured motorist insurance company pays the damages as opposed to the at fault liability insurance company. In rare situations, they may also be entitled to punitive damages.
Punitive damages are never awarded in a hit and run case simply because the at-fault driver has not been identified. In theory, if the uninsured motorist insurance company acted with conscious disregard, they may have a case of punitive damages against their own insurance company. However, this fact pattern is highly unlikely, so punitive damages are essentially irrelevant in this scenario.
After being injured in a hit and run accident, a person should contact a Cook County lawyer as soon as possible. Other steps which they must follow are to attend whatever medical injuries they may have incurred. The value of a personal injury claim is partially related to the medical bills which are incurred since this is typically in correlation to the severity of the injuries.
Finally, it is important to listen to the doctor’s advice regarding their medical condition and treatment. In addition to being a good idea for health reasons, it also serves as evidence of the injury, which is necessary to make a financial recovery.
It can be immensely frustrating when a motorist who hit you flees the scene of the accident. Call someone who could get you the help you need. A Cook County hit and run accident lawyer is standing by.