Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and Run Accidents in Massachusetts
The Weymouth car accident lawyers at Curran Law Group, P.C. handle all forms of motor vehicle accident claims including claims for injuries from hit and run drivers, motorcycle accidents, roll-over accidents, wrongful death lawsuits, head-on collisions and more. Our attorneys are always available to help you with a free consultation. CALL US TODAY AT 781-331-3811 to discuss your claim. There is no risk and we do not receive compensation unless we are successful in obtaining a settlement or an award on your behalf.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
Hit and run accidents are one of the more frustrating claims for people because often times, the driver is unable to be located and there is no one to hold accountable for the harm they have caused. However, with the increased use of traffic cameras, improved video surveillance systems and smart phones, perpetrators of these accidents are becoming easier to identify and track down.
According to a report in USA Today based on data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of hit and run fatalities has been steadily rising since 2009. In 2009, there were 1,274 hit and run fatalities, compared to 1,393 in 2010 and 1,449 in 2011 (the most recent year data was collected). According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 1 in 5 pedestrians are killed by hit and run drivers and approximately 60 percent of all hit and run deaths are pedestrians.
In some cities, hit and run accidents have reached epic proportions. For example, in one year in Los Angeles, nearly 1/2 of all collisions involved a hit and run driver who fled the scene.
Distracted or impaired driving such as texting or operating a vehicle while intoxicated is believed to be a major cause of hit and run accidents. In many instances, the drivers who either were on their phone or are intoxicated fear the legal repercussions and flee the scene.
To address this problem, one lawmaker in Los Angeles proposed a bill that would extend the statute of limitations from 3 years to 6 years allowing victims more time in which to locate the at-fault driver and seek legal remedies in the courts. Whether or not Massachusetts will look to implement similar changes remains to be seen.
Recovering Compensation for a Hit and Run Accident
Some people believe that if they were injured by a hit and run driver, they are unable to pursue a claim for their injuries. This is simply not the case. Victims of “hit and run drivers” can still recover for their injuries, even if the driver of the car who caused the crash cannot be identified. If the person who caused your injuries cannot be found, or the person does not have insurance (or enough insurance) to cover your injuries and losses, you may be entitled to recover compensation from your own automobile policy or a family member’s automobile policy. This coverage is what is known as “uninsured” or “underinsured” insurance coverage. In this type of situation, the victim is able to pursue a claim against the available uninsured or underinsured policy just as if the at-fault driver was identified. Instead of suing the at-fault driver in court, these claims are almost always resolved through an arbitration proceeding, which is like a “mini trial” and is much less formal in nature.
Because Massachusetts law only requires that drivers have up to $20,000 in minimum coverage for injuries caused to others, it is highly recommended that you look into purchasing the optional “under insurance” and “uninsured” coverage, which is designed to provide coverage for situations where the other driver is either “underinsured” or worse “uninsured” for the accident and any injuries he or she may have caused.
Steps to Win Your Hit and Run Accident Claim
Step 1. Prove Liability
In any motor vehicle accident case one of the first steps towards recovering compensation for your injuries is finding out who is at fault (i.e. negligent). Massachusetts law requires that a driver must use caution and must maintain control of his or her vehicle at all times. If a driver fails to use reasonable care while driving a motor vehicle, he or she may be found liable for any injuries or damages that may result. Examples of negligent conduct that could subject a driver to liability include:
- Failing to obey the rules of the road
- Driving while intoxicated
- Texting while driving
- Failing to yield
Step 2. Demonstrate Damages
In any personal injury case, once liability has been established, it is necessary to demonstrate that the victim has actually suffered harm or damages. These damages may include, lost wages, past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, to name a few.
Medical Bills: Usually, the first $2,000.00 in medical bills including any x-ray tests, chiropractic bills or other medical care is paid by what’s called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance which is provided through your own vehicle insurer. If you have private health care insurance, Massachusetts Law requires that medical bills in excess of $2,000.00 be submitted through your health insurance provider for payment. This does NOT mean that you are suing your own insurance carrier. This is simply to allow for your up-front medical bills to be paid immediately while you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for your injuries and losses.
Lost Wages: You may be entitled to collect up to 75% of your lost wages, which is based on your average weekly wages.
Pain and Suffering: This is often one of the hardest components of damages to calculate and is often one of the most contested items by insurance companies. Often times, insurance carriers will down play the severity of one’s injuries to avoid paying a lot of money for these claims.
Hiring a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
Hit and run accidents can be serious and can result in severe injuries and even death. Because immediate action may be required to preserve all of your rights, it is important to hire an experienced Weymouth car accident attorney to evaluate and handle your case.
If you feel you have a car accident case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights. Please call us at 781-331-3811, or use our contact form to send us an e-mail. Get your FREE legal consultation today with Curran Law Group, P.C.
Curran Law Group, P.C. represents victims of hit and run accidents and car crashes all over Massachusetts including Weymouth, Quincy, Boston, Dorchester, Braintree, Milton, Canton, Dedham, Randolph, Norwood, Taunton, Avon, Westwood, Hingham, Norwell, Scituate, Cohasset, Rockland, Plymouth, Hanover, Kingston, Duxbury, Pembroke, Brockton, Bridgewater, Whitman, Hanson and else ware.