A hit-and-run accident is often distressing and traumatic. When someone is involved in an accident with another car, a pedestrian, or a cyclist, they are required by law to remain at the car accident scene. Unfortunately, some drivers attempt to evade responsibility by fleeing the scene, thus leaving injury victims in a terrible position.
A motor vehicle accident can be life-threatening. Serious injuries, significant property damage, huge medical bills, and pain and suffering can leave hit and run victims confused on what to do. Fortunately, those injured can still recover damages to cover their medical costs and other losses. With the help of a Southern Illinois personal injury attorney, you can learn your legal rights and options to receive compensation following your hit-and-run car accident.
What Should I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The moments after a hit and run can be emotional, or you may have been away only to find your car with damages. You may not know what to do or say. You should consider taking these steps after such an event:
Do: evaluate if you’re hurt and seek medical attention for your injuries
Do: gather as much information as possible. Information like the license plate number of the hit and run driver, description of the car, direction they headed, and description of the motorist. You can take notes and pictures of the scene too.
Do: call the police who will document the accident and help you track down the hit and run driver and issue a police report which is essential when pursuing compensation.
Do: get witnesses and exchange contact information with them. Witnesses are vital when filing a claim or legally pursuing your case.
Do: inform your insurance company and get the accident on record.
Don’t: leave the accident scene to chase down the other driver. You may compromise your case and even your safety.
Don’t: leave the accident scene before the police arrive.
What’s The Punishment for A Hit & Run in Illinois?
Penalties will depend on various factors like whether someone was killed, injured, or property damaged.
Failure to report an accident because the car was unattended, such as in a parking lot, will attract punishment for a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty is jail time of up to a year or fines of up to $2,500.
Fleeing the accident scene for more than thirty minutes could attract fines of up to $25,000 or three years in jail. If the accident caused an injury, the penalties are 1-3 years in prison, fine of up to $25,000, and license revocation.
Fleeing the scene that resulted in death is a felony, and fail to report it to the police can attract between 4-15 years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. You will need an experienced Southern Illinois car accident lawyer to defend you against these harsh consequences.
Causes of Mt Vernon Hit and Run Car Accidents
Hit and run is often a thoughtless act. Not everybody would flee a car accident scene in Mt Vernon unless they have a very good reason. Some of the reasons why people drive away from accident scenes include:
- The driver is drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
- Lack of a driver’s license, suspended license, or lack of insurance.
- The police are pursuing the driver, and there’s a warrant in place
- The car is stolen
- They know they are at fault, like if they were over speeding
How Do I Recover Damages After a Hit-And-Run Car Accident in Illinois?
A hit-and-run accident in Mt Vernon can be traumatizing and even throw you into a state of confusion. Sometimes noting the at-fault driver’s plate number is near impossible. But nearby security cameras and videos from dash cameras can help you locate the driver.
Once your Mt Vernon personal injury lawyer or the police track down the driver, you can file a claim with their insurer or an Illinois personal injury lawsuit against them.
What If the Hit-And-Run Driver Is Never Located?
A hit-and-run incident is a special kind of accident. You may end up not receiving any financial compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance provider. Luckily, even if the driver is not found, your insurance policy may still cover you. Here are different options that can help provide coverage for your losses:
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage: UM coverage is required in Illinois. If you have liability insurance, then you also have uninsured motorist coverage. UM covers bodily injury and property damage on you and passengers.
MedPay coverage: It will cover your medical expenses and those of the passengers after the accident regardless of who was at fault.
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage: You qualify to receive up to $10,000 in coverage regardless of who was at fault. However, it will depend on your policy.
A Southern Illinois car accident attorney can help you investigate a hit and run accident and negotiate with the insurance company to seek compensation for your past and future damages that you deserve.
How Will an Attorney Help in A Hit-And-Run Case?
It’s easy to feel hopeless after a hit-and-run accident. But if you want to recover the maximum compensation available, you need a Mt Vernon car accident lawyer. At Olson & Reeves, Attorneys at Law, we have our own:
- Professional investigators
- Forensic accident experts
- Skilled expert medical witnesses, and
- Experienced car accident lawyers
An Experienced Accident Attorney Fighting for You in Southern Illinois
When involved in a hit-and-run car accident, you deserve an expert car accident attorney on your side. Your lawyer will help you explore the options and help you navigate the tough insurance claims process.
Olson & Reeves, Attorneys at Law, are knowledgeable, smart, and aggressive Mt Vernon personal injury lawyers helping people get their lives back on track. We have the experience of handling Illinois car accidents and hit and run cases. Contact our office at (618) 316-7322 for a free no-obligation consultation, and let us fight for you.