Our Hit-and-Run Lawyer Can Help You Get Compensation If You Are a Victim of a Hit-And-Run Crash
Attempting to collect for damages after a hit-and-run accident is particularly frustrating for victims. If you or a loved one was injured or someone has died as a result of a hit-and-run accident, you should get legal assistance immediately. If another party’s negligence or responsibility was involved in the accident, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. However, insurance companies will use tactics to attempt to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible, so your case must be handled correctly and competently, or you may never receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Evidence from a crash can evaporate quickly, as witnesses disappear and damaged vehicles are towed away. An experienced hit-and-run attorney can ensure that all of the evidence is properly preserved and have pictures taken to validate your injuries and damages. Your attorney will do everything possible to identify the driver who fled the scene. Even if the driver cannot be found, an attorney can help make sure you can collect the largest settlement possible from your own car insurance policy, if you have that type of coverage.
Even if the accident was entirely the fault of the other person, drivers who fail to stop and who leave the scene are considered to have committed a hit-and-run crime.
Our attorneys at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters know the courts and the system and what you need to do to increase your chances of getting the settlement you deserve. We offer a free consultation to carefully examine the individual facts in your case and determine the best way to handle it. Call our offices at (570) 323-8711 to set up your free consultation with our hit-and-run lawyer today.
What is Pennsylvania Law on Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
Under 75 Pa.C.S. 3742, 3743 and 3745, all drivers are required to notify the police department about any car accident, whether or not the driver was responsible for the accident and even if the accident involved unattended property. Notification should include insurance and contact information.
If there are multiple vehicles involved, all drivers must remain at the scene to give a report and provide information concerning insurance, registration, and driver’s license to a police official. If police do not come to the scene, drivers must report the incident at the nearest police station.
The possible penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary, depending upon the amount of damage and the level of injury caused, as follows:
- If the accident involved unattended property, leaving the scene of an accident may be punished by a fine of up to $300 and 90 days in jail.
- If no one is injured, the hit-and-run is a misdemeanor, but even those convicted of leaving the scene of a minor “fender bender” could face up to a year in jail, a fine of $2,500, and a loss of driver’s license.
- If there are serious injuries involved, the crime becomes a third-degree felony with a minimum of 90 days and up to seven years in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000.
- Drivers caught and convicted of causing a fatal hit-and-run accident will face anywhere from one to 10 years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500, plus damages to the family of the victim and license suspension of 6 months to one year.
There is a state victims’ fund as well which may be applicable in certain circumstances.
How Our Williamsport Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers Can Help You
After a hit-and-run accident, our lawyers can help track down the perpetrator and fight for the compensation you deserve.
There are two ways to get compensated after a hit-and-run accident:
If the driver is unable to be found, you may be able to receive compensation from your own insurance company, based on the coverage you have in your policy.
Pennsylvania drivers can choose either “full tort” coverage or no-fault “limited tort” coverage. For limited tort, your insurance company should pay for all reasonable medical care, up to the limits of your policy. However, you may not sue unless the accident resulted in “serious injury,” such as death or disfigurement. The question of what constitutes a “serious injury” can be complex and depends heavily upon what your doctors say. It may even be a question for the jury.
If your insurance is only limited tort, you are limited in what you can recover and cannot get pain and suffering unless “serious injury” can be proven. In Pennsylvania, regardless of who caused the car accident, your own auto policy covers medical bills under PIP (personal injury protection) medical coverage, up to the limits of your policy.
If you have Uninsured Motorist coverage you can receive an amount up to the maximum amount of coverage you purchased. If you exhaust your PIP benefits, then your health insurance coverage would kick in.
Our attorneys know the tactics insurance companies use to pay out as little as possible and will deal with them to try to obtain the settlement you deserve. In the event your insurance company acts in bad faith, there may be a separate claim against the insurance company for bad faith which can be a very substantial issue.
If the driver can be found, you will be able to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit against the driver. If we cannot negotiate a fair settlement, we are fully prepared to take your case to court, if we believe that is advisable.
Our Rieders Travis hit-and-run accident lawyers can help you get compensation by:
- Investigating the accident and collecting evidence such as videos from surveillance cameras and eyewitness reports
- Tracking down the offending driver
- Hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Taking your case to court if necessary
- Bring a bad faith case against your insurance company, if that is appropriate.
Hit-and-Run Attorneys Can Win Compensation That Covers Your Losses
In Pennsylvania, compensated costs and losses for crash victims fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages are expenses which can be objectively calculated, such as medical and hospital, therapy, and rehabilitation costs, costs of equipment such as wheelchairs, lost income, property damage, and funeral and burial costs if a death is involved. This includes past, present and future expenses. Sometimes there is “subrogation.” A lawyer needs to explain how that system works. This can be a very complex situation, differing in each case depending upon many factors, including the policy language.
- Non-economic damages may include disfigurement, the loss of enjoyment of life prior to death, pain and suffering and the loss of a marital relationship (consortium).
What to Do in Case of a Hit-and-Run Crash
If you are involved in a vehicle crash, you should follow these rules:
- Stop immediately and stay at the scene until police arrive.
- Check on all drivers and passengers and call 911 to report injuries and call for medical assistance.
- Inform police if the accident resulted in injuries, death or property damage and stay at the scene until they have taken their report.
- Talk to witnesses and get their contact information.
- Take pictures of the crash scene, damages and injuries.
- Submit a Driver’s Accident Report within 5 days of an accident, if the accident was not investigated by the police or the accident resulted in death, injury or severe damage to any vehicle.
- Get legal representation before talking to your insurance company.
Be aware that Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations – a deadline of two years after the accident for filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit. If you miss the two-year lawsuit filing deadline, the court will throw out your case. For an injury case, the date the clock starts running is the date of the accident. If a death is involved, this is figured from the date the victim died. In certain circumstances, Pennsylvania has a tolling rule which may involve discovery or minors. The statute of limitations for any lawsuit in connection with bad faith against your own insurance company is longer. These are complex matters that you should talk to an attorney about.
Call Our Pennsylvania Hit-and-Run Lawyers for Help
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car crash, let our skilled and experienced Pennsylvania car crash attorney help relieve your worries and try to get you the best settlement possible. When you work with our team, you work with highly qualified and experienced lawyers who have the skills you need to fight for you with insurers or in court.
At Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results. Call (570) 323-8711 to set up your free consultation today.