Compared to most other accidents, hit and run accidents present more severe consequences. All drivers on the road have a duty to react properly and promptly when they are involved in a car accident, regardless of fault. If the accident creates an injury to one driver and not the other, the uninjured driver is required to alert paramedics or transport the victim to the hospital depending on the state. If the car accident is severe, those involved need to call the police. Additionally, the parties involved in the collision are required to exchange contact information and insurance details. Finally, those involved in a car accident must stop their vehicles and not flee the scene.
The most severe civil consequence for a person who leaves the scene of an accident is that the person who did not flee will almost automatically be able to recover punitive damages from them in addition to personal injury damages. Punitive damages are a special type of damage available when a person acts intentionally, egregiously or recklessly and causes harm. Punitive damages are constructed to punish and prevent outlandish negative conduct by serving as a warning to other motorists. If the defendant is wealthy or if the defendant acted in a particularly grotesque manner, a judge or jury may conclude that the punitive damages should be quite large. If the defendant hits a motorcyclist and then flees the scene of the accident, the punitive damages are likely to be much higher as motorcyclists involved in car accidents often suffer grave injuries. As such, hitting a motorcyclist and leaving the scene is considered much more morally reprehensible.
In addition to civil liabilities, a person who flees the scene of an accident may also be charged criminally with a misdemeanor or felony. If you are involved in a car accident, have reason to believe that someone was injured and then leave the scene anyway, you could face major fines and jail time. A criminal conviction can also be presented as compelling evidence during a civil trial.
Victims of hit and runs very rarely are involved in an accident with a wealthy person. In fact, many times they must collect compensation from their own insurance company unless the offending driver is found by police. Otherwise, there is no way to hold the person responsible. In no-fault states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, an injured driver can make a no-fault claim with their own insurance company. In all other states, the driver will likely have to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Victims of Car Accidents Suffering from Injuries
If you, a loved one or someone you know has been involved in a car accident or hit and run and was hurt or injured, the injured person may be able to receive financial compensation for their lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering and punitive damages. Contact DiTomaso Law to review the facts of your case with one of our seasoned Cherry Hill car accident lawyers. Our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia where we serve clients in Cherry Hill, Mount Holly, Camden County, Burlington County and throughout South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. To set up a free consultation, call 856-414-0010 or contact us online.