Immediately after your car accident, you probably think the worst is over. An accident has occurred, you were hurt — What else could go wrong?
Then you realize that the driver who hit you left the scene. How are you supposed to recover compensation for your injuries if you don’t even know who the driver is?
Hit and run car accidents like this happen all the time in Illinois and across the United States. In 2015, there was more than 737,000 hit and run car accidents in the U.S., according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of those, 138,500 caused injuries, and 1,819 resulted in at least one death.
If you were in a hit and run accident, you are not alone. Help is available. To learn more, keep reading and contact an experienced Illinois hit and run car accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
Illinois Hit and Run Laws
The first thing you should know is that the person who fled the scene of your accident is guilty of a crime under Illinois law. Whether the accident caused injuries or only vehicle damage, anyone involved must stop and give you their name, address, and driver’s license information and help you if you are hurt.
Failing to do that in an accident with injuries is a felony, and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage is a misdemeanor.
Those are the criminal laws. While they will not directly help you recover compensation, they can certainly help with a future lawsuit if the driver is identified. For example, if police find the hit and run driver within 12 hours of the accident, they can be subjected to chemical testing for alcohol and drugs. If they were, in fact, intoxicated when the accident happened, that would be a clear sign of negligence. And that could help you win a lawsuit against them.
Even if alcohol and drugs were not involved, leaving the scene of an accident and breaking the law are negligent behaviors. And the driver should be held accountable for such actions in civil court. A hit and run car accident lawyer in Illinois can help you understand Illinois’ hit and run laws and how they apply to your case.
Recovering Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident
Hit and run car accidents present some unique challenges. Typically, you want to know who the at-fault party is if you’re going to recover compensation for a car accident. Many hit and run victims believe that they have no options after their crashes. But you do have legal options to recover compensation after an Illinois hit and run accident.
Even though you may not know the identity of the driver who caused your crash, you may be able to seek compensation through your auto insurance policy. All auto insurance policies in Illinois come with uninsured motorist coverage, and this coverage can kick in after a hit and run.
Unfortunately, even your own insurance company is likely going to try to avoid compensating you. They may try to twist your words and use them against you. They may offer you a lowball settlement that will not cover your medical bills. The bottom line is that the insurance company is not your friend after a hit and run car accident. Fortunately, you can have an Illinois hit and run lawyer deal with the insurer on your behalf.
Suing the Driver
Your other option for recovering compensation after a hit and run in Illinois is suing the driver. Of course, you will have to know who the driver is. Filing a police report, teaming up with an experienced hit and run car accident lawyer, seeking witness statements, and gathering any other available evidence can help you identify the driver.
If the driver is found, arrested, or comes forward, they are likely to have their attorney if they expect that you will pursue compensation from them in civil court. Expect fierce resistance from the driver and their lawyer. And be sure to come to this fight armed with evidence and a strong legal argument.
Calculating the Value of Your Accident Claim
You deserve compensation for every way in which this hit and run has harmed you. To ensure that you receive that full compensation, you will need to calculate the value of every damage you have suffered.
A trusted attorney can help you calculate the value of the following hit and run car accident damages, among others:
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If you’ve been hurt, it can be hard to know where to start. We begin every case with a free, no-risk evaluation. We’ll discuss your situation, answer your questions, and determine what comes next. Act now and get the recovery you deserve.
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