In San Jose, some people are seriously injured in hit-and-run accidents every year. When people are involved in accidents that injure others, they are required to remain at the accident scene. If they flee, they can be convicted of a felony offense. Despite this potential penalty, some people still leave the scenes of accidents. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is important for you to talk to a hit-and-run accident lawyer in San Jose for help with recovering compensation for your losses.
What is a hit-and-run accident?
In a hit-and-run accident, a motorist who strikes another vehicle, pedestrian, motorcycle or bicyclist flees before law enforcement officers arrive. If the accident caused an injury, the offense is punishable as a felony offense. When only property damage occurs in a hit-and-run accident, it is still punishable as a misdemeanor offense. Many people still leave the scenes of accidents that they cause despite the potential punishments. When you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, knowing what to do can be difficult.
Common types of injuries that may happen in a hit-and-run accident
Many different injuries can happen in a hit-and-run accident. The injuries that might occur will depend on the relative sizes of the vehicles, their weights, the speed at which the collisions occurred and the points of impact. Some of the common types of injuries that might happen in a hit-and-run accident include any of the following:
• Traumatic brain injuries
• Head and facial injuries
• Neck injuries
• Extremity fractures
• Rib fractures
• Pelvic fractures
Compensation that may be available in a hit-and-run accident
After an accident, the driver who is at fault may have to pay compensation to pay for the losses of the injured victims. When the at-fault drivers flee, recovering compensation can be more difficult. If you are able to locate and identify the driver, you may be able to recover compensation from the driver or from his or her insurance company. You may also be able to recover money for your losses from your own uninsured motorist coverage. Some of the available damages that you might be able to recover include the following:
• Past medical bills and future expected medical expenses
• Income losses and future reductions in your ability to earn a living
• Property losses
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional anguish
• Scarring and disfigurement
• Loss of consortium for spouses
If your loved one was killed by a hit-and-run driver, you may also recover the reasonable funeral and burial costs. It is possible that punitive damages may also be available in egregious cases.
Ways to find the hit-and-run driver
If you are able to do so, try to take a photograph of the other driver’s license plate and vehicle. If you can’t take a picture, try to jot down the license plate number and the car’s make, model and color. This information can be used by law enforcement officers to track down the other motorist. Your insurance company may also use it to track down the at-fault driver. Make sure to call the police and give the information about what happened to the officers who respond. If there are any witnesses, try to talk to them to see if any of them were able to get the license plate information. You can also check with nearby businesses to see if they have video cameras so that you can secure copies of the video.
How to file an uninsured motorist claim
If you are unable to locate the hit-and-run driver, you may file a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage. If you have this coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. If you also have collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance company may pay for the damage to your vehicle.
Why you should get help from a San Jose hit-and-run accident lawyer
It is important for you to get help from a hit-and-run attorney in San Jose as soon as possible after your accident. A lawyer may be able to help you to locate the driver who hit you. He or she may also be able to negotiate with your own insurance company to try to secure the maximum compensation that is available to you. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation so that you can learn more about the rights that you might have.