At Maison Law, we have experience in hit-and-run accidents. We feel strongly that in any accident, justice requires that the negligent person pay for the injuries of those injured. When the at-fault driver flees, this subverts the ability for the victim to get compensation for their injuries and thus get justice.
In all hit-and-run accidents, we work extra hard to get the victim any source of compensation that the law allows when the driver flees the scene.
The Risks in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Anytime someone travels on the roads, streets and highways of Visalia and surrounding communities, they are at risk of being injured in an auto accident. However, once the driver flees, it adds further risk to the victim.
Sometimes in an accident, those injured have to rely on the at-fault driver to get help and maybe rescue them from immediate danger. A car that is in danger of a fire, or of a second impact if other cars aren’t warned of the accident. Many times, the driver who caused the wreck steps up and renders aid, and if that driver flees, it puts the injured at risk of further injuries.
Injuries that are at Risk of Further Injury in a Hit-and-Run
When the driver flees, the response of the EMS is often delayed, and the delay can result in the worsening any injuries and put the victim at a greater risk of death.
- Heart Attack: The stress associated with an accident can trigger a heart attack, and the sooner help comes, the better chance of surviving and making a full recovery.
- Neck Injuries: Delays can cause neck injuries to be made worse if the neck isn’t stabilized quickly enough.
- Deep lacerations: Any injury that causes blood loss can be made worse by delays in getting help.
- Punctured Lungs: Broken ribs can puncture a lung and the victim can suffer further injuries from the loss of oxygen.
- Pregnancy/Delivery: When a pregnant woman is in an accident, the stress can cause a premature deliver or endanger the safety of mother and child. Any delay can make these worse.
Insurance Issues with a Hit-and-Run
For an auto insurance policy to pay for an injured person’s losses, the at-fault driver must be identified. If the driver flees and his or her identity is never known, then the policy can’t be used to pay for the victim’s losses.
When this happens, the victim may be out of any options for getting compensation for their injuries. One possibility is to use the victims own auto insurance. If the injured person has their own auto insurance, it might be used to compensate him or her for the losses.
Before an injured person’s own insurance policy can be used, the policy must have uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This coverage pays the owner of the policy for any damages they receive if the at-fault driver has no insurance or doesn’t have enough. This includes when the driver flees because it means that there is no insurance to cover the injured person’s losses. This is exactly the scenario that UM/UIM is intended.
In California, UM/UIM is not mandatory, but insurance companies are required to offer it. The cost is usually fairly low and is added on to the existing policy premium. In the case of a hit-and-run accident, this policy can make the difference of getting compensation or not.
Contact a Visalia Car Accident Lawyer
When a driver takes off from the scene of an accident, everything becomes more difficult and the risks to the injured go up. This difficulty spills over into the issue of liability, and even if the injured has their own policy with UM/UIM, there are some restrictions with the use of this provision, and an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can overcome these and get the compensation that the injured person deserves.
After any accident involving a serious injury, speak to an experienced Visalia car accident lawyer such as Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and the personalized attention to detail their case deserves.