On roads and highways, hit-and-run accidents are on the rise, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or even death. In these types of accidents, the at-fault driver usually leaves the scene and refuses to pay for their part of the damages. In the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident, the victims are left wondering who will cover the costs of their medical care, repairs to their property, and mental anguish.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how much money hit-and-run accidents cost, what legal alternatives victims have, and who ends up paying for the victim’s medical costs and property damage. Knowing the repercussions of hit-and-run accidents can help us avoid them and prepare us to deal with them if we are ever victims.
Types of Costs Involved in Hit-and-Run Accidents
The victims of hit-and-run accidents often sustain not only material but also intangible losses as a result of the incident. The possible expenses of a hit-and-run incident are listed below.
1. Property Damage
Property damage is a typical expense after an accident where one party does not stop. The damage caused by a car crashing into another car or a building or fence is not always catastrophic. The price tag for fixing or replacing something broken can rise quickly and differ widely depending on its condition.
Unless the victim has uninsured motorist coverage or comprehensive coverage in their auto insurance policy, they may have to pay for the repairs or replacement out of their own money if the driver who caused the accident flees the scene. The sufferer may also incur additional expenses, such as those associated with renting a car to get around town while their vehicle is being repaired.
2. Medical Expenses
Medical bills are another major expense associated with this type of event. If the person is hurt badly enough, they can need extensive medical care such as hospitalization, surgery, medication, and rehabilitation. Medical bills, depending on the extent of the injuries, might become a substantial financial burden for the victim.
The victim may also experience financial hardship due to the need for medical leave from work. This can add to the already significant financial hardship brought on by the hit-and-run.
3. Lost Income
Costs associated with a hit-and-run incident may also include time away from work. Because of their injuries, the victim may be unable to return to work, which could result in a loss of income. If the victim is the breadwinner for their family or if their profession demands manual labor or specific skills, this can be especially difficult.
The victim’s financial situation may worsen if they need to take time off work for recovery, as they may have to spend paid sick or vacation time. There may be long-term monetary repercussions if the victim is unable to return to work at all.
4. Emotional Distress
Finally, emotional discomfort can be caused by hit-and-run accidents, which can have lasting effects. Fear, rage, anxiety, and melancholy are just some of the feelings that the victim may experience. Individuals may have psychological injuries as a result of the incident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The victim of a hit-and-run accident may need professional help processing their emotions after the incident. The financial and emotional toll of an accident may rise as a result of this.
Who Pays for the Costs of Hit and Run Accidents?
Costs from hit-and-run accidents may add up quickly, and it’s not always clear who should foot the bill. Here are a few strategies for dealing with the financial aftermath of hit-and-run incidents:
A. Insurance Coverage
The costs of hit-and-run accidents may be paid by insurance. In the event of a hit-and-run collision, two different types of insurance may come into play:
1. Liability Insurance
The costs of repairs to the property, medical bills, and time away from work could be covered by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance if they can be determined.
2. Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The victim may be able to use their uninsured motorist policy to pay for their damages if the at-fault driver cannot be located or does not have insurance. When added to a standard auto insurance policy, uninsured motorist protection helps pay for losses caused by drivers who do not have insurance or who have inadequate coverage.
B. Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Damages may have to be paid for in full or in part out of pocket if the victim does not have insurance or if the amount of coverage is insufficient. If the victim has had serious injuries or property damage, this can be a heavyweight.
C. Compensation for Victims
Hit-and-run accident victims primarily have two avenues for financial restitution:
1. Civil Lawsuits
Damages suffered by victims may be compensated by a civil lawsuit filed against the at-fault driver. Damages can be awarded for things like repair costs, medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish. Nevertheless, tracking down the at-fault motorist can be difficult, and even if you do, they might not be able to afford to pay your damages.
2. Victim Compensation Programs
Hit-and-run accident victims can get financial aid through victim compensation programs in several states. Medical bills, missed wages, and other expenditures not directly related to the event may be covered by these plans. However, depending on the laws in each state, not all damages may be covered by these plans.
The Difficulties of Recouping Expenses in Cases of Hit and Run
It can be difficult and time-consuming to seek compensation for damages caused by a hit-and-run driver. Some of the obstacles that victims of hit-and-run accidents may experience while trying to get their money back are listed below.
1. Difficulty Identifying the At-Fault Driver
Finding the responsible driver after a hit-and-run accident is a major obstacle to financial recovery. The at-fault motorist often escapes the scene of an accident without providing any identifying details. This can make it difficult to hold people accountable for their actions.
Witness accounts or surveillance footage may help law enforcement identify and locate the driver. It’s possible that even if the driver is identified, they lack the resources to compensate for the harm they’ve caused.
2. Lack of Insurance Coverage
The lack of insurance coverage presents another obstacle to recouping damages in hit-and-run accidents. The victim’s insurance claim could be voided if the negligent motorist is not recognized. In addition, the victim may have to pay for the damages out of pocket if they do not have uninsured motorist coverage.
3. Limited Compensation from Insurance Companies
Unfortunately, even if the victim has insurance, they may only be able to collect a little sum from their provider. The amount of money an insurance company will pay out for things like lost wages and pain and suffering is often capped. In addition, insurers have the incentive to pay out as little as possible to victims to maintain a healthy profit margin.
Advice for Staying Safe in Case of a Hit and Run
Gathering Evidence at the Scene
- Get the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you if you can. To the police, this is the single most important piece of information you can give them.
- Get visual documentation of the scene, showing your vehicle and any damage it incurred, the surrounding area, and any other pertinent information.
- Seek out potential eyewitnesses to the collision and try to get in touch with them. They could perhaps help the police with their testimonies.
- Make sure to back up any film captured by a dashcam or other in-car recording equipment.
Contacting Law Enforcement
- Report the hit-and-run collision to 911 right away. Provide as much information as you can, such as the vehicle’s license plate number and a detailed description of it.
- If you can, stay at the site until the police arrive. They may need to interrogate you or assemble more proof.
- Report the incident to the police and request a copy of the report for your files.
Seeking Legal Help
- Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a lawyer who specializes in hit-and-run cases. They will be able to guide you through the legal system and look out for your best interests.
- You may be able to get money for the injuries and damages you suffered in the accident with the help of an attorney.
- Don’t forget to keep receipts for all accident-related costs, including medical care, car repairs, and more. This information could be crucial for your lawyer to establish your case.
Frequently Ask Questions
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver who is responsible for an accident does not stop to exchange information or help the victims.
The hit-and-run driver may be held liable for the injuries and costs sustained if they are apprehended. If the offender is not apprehended, however, the victim’s insurance company might foot the bill.
When an at-fault driver is identified, the victim can take legal action. In addition to filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they can also pursue a civil lawsuit.
Be sure you have sufficient insurance, including uninsured motorist coverage, to defend yourself in the event of an accident with a hit-and-run driver. Always get the opposing driver’s license plate number and any witness testimony you can at the scene of the accident.
Staying at the site of an accident, no matter how minor can help reduce the number of hit-and-run incidents. Always keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it to the police. Reduce your chances of being in an accident by always driving defensively and legally.