Hit and Run Accidents
Experienced Car Crash Lawyers Representing People in Wheaton and Schaumburg
Any car accident is stressful, but it can be even worse when you do not know who hit you. The aftermath of a hit and run can become an unwelcome maze of questions and concerns. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a hit and run accident, you need to reach out to a skilled Wheaton and Schaumburg car accident lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can be complex, and having the right attorney on your side can make a huge difference in your case.
Taking Legal Action After a Hit and Run Accident
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the number of fatal hit and run crashes nationally increased from 1,274 in 2009 to 1,393 in 2010 to 1,449 in 2011. This increase in hit and run deaths took place over a three-year period in which other traffic deaths were declining overall nationally. The NHTSA also found that about one in five pedestrian fatalities across the country arose from hit and runs, and 60 percent of hit and run fatalities had pedestrians as victims.
Under Illinois driving laws, a person who is involved in a motor vehicle accident in which people are injured or property is damaged is required to stop at the scene and exchange information as well as help when necessary. A hit and run accident takes place when one party to an accident flees the scene of that accident. In other words, a hit and run accident is one in which one driver fails to stop and provide proper identification after a crash.
Drivers who fail to stay at the scene of an accident may face criminal penalties. Even if a driver’s criminal charges are dismissed or the driver has been acquitted, however, an injured party can often still file a negligence claim. In such cases, the injured party must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Negligence takes place when a driver fails to use the level of care and caution that a reasonably prudent driver would use in the same situation. To establish negligence, certain points must be shown. These include proving that the defendant owed a duty to the victim, the defendant breached the duty owed to the victim, and the plaintiff suffered harm or damage as a result. Breaching the duty of care may or may not consist of leaving the scene. In many cases, a driver flees the scene because they were drunk or because they do not want to be cited for another traffic violation. This violation is often the reason for the accident and the victim’s injuries.
In hit and run cases, a plaintiff may be entitled to punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim, but instead these damages are designed to punish the defendant and deter future wrongdoing. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases in which the defendant’s conduct is considered egregious, reckless, or intentional.
Regrettably, in many cases, a hit and run driver is not caught, or the driver is caught but does not have auto insurance with which to compensate the victim. Injured victims in such circumstances may ask an attorney to help them turn to their own insurance coverage for their injuries. Under Illinois law, drivers must carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on their insurance policies in the amount of $20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident. The policy will generally cover medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other costs associated with the accident.
Discuss Your Options With an Attorney Following a Hit and Run in Schaumburg or Wheaton
Hit and run accidents can have devastating consequences for the victim and their family. If you have been injured in a hit and run crash, we can help. At Therman Law Offices, our attorneys have the experience and understanding needed to handle your claim. With more than 35 years of combined experience, we are dedicated to getting you full and fair compensation for your harm. Our lawyers represent injured people in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Elgin, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Wood Dale, Bloomingdale, and Roselle. For a free consultation about your potential claim, call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.