Unfortunately, hit-and-run car accidents are not a rarity. As a matter of fact, in the U.S. we average more than one hit-and-run accident every minute. Even more disturbing for New Jersey residents, in our state fatal hit-and-run accidents are on the rise, up 38 percent between 2013 and 2016. Though we can speculate on some of the reasons for the increase in such incidents, for the victims of hit-and-run drivers causation makes very little difference. If you have suffered serious injuries, or tragically lost a family member, to a hit-and-run driver, it is critical that you retain the services of a tough, experienced car accident attorney, one who will fight to make sure that you receive every bit of compensation you deserve.
The highly skilled hit-and-run accident attorneys at Nagel Rice LLP will be able to assist you with every aspect of your case, taking whatever actions will serve you best. We are fully prepared to examine the police report and medical data, have experts recreate the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, take photographs and videos, and listen very carefully to your account of the event.
What Exactly Is a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
A hit-and-run accident is defined as one in which a driver intentionally leaves the scene before helping any injured victims or providing any contact information. Not only is leaving the scene irresponsible and uncaring, but it is also against the law, whether or not the driver who drives away was at fault for the accident or not. A driver who has hit another vehicle (car, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard), an object, a sizable animal, or a pedestrian, is considered to have committed a crime if he or she just drives off. This is true even if the driver has hit a parked car. In that case, you are required by law to leave a note for the owner with your contact information.
Reasons for New Jersey Drivers to Flee the Scene of a Car Accident
A great many drivers flee the scene of a car accident because they know they face increased legal consequences because they are: driving without a license, registration, or insurance, driving a stolen automobile, impaired by alcohol or drugs, have been charged with another crime, or are engaged in criminal activity at the time of the event. Although in recent years technological and scientific advances give law enforcement a decided edge in terms of tracking down hit-and-run drivers, many of these scofflaws remain at large.
How Nagel Rice Will Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
Assuming that the hit-and-run driver is caught and has insurance, our sharp, agile attorneys will come up with a carefully crafted strategy designed to win your case. Depending on the particular circumstances of the car accident and the nature of your injuries, you will be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages compensate you for monies you have spent or will spend, on injury-related costs, such as medical and rehabilitative costs, lost wages (present and future), and property damage.
- Non-economic damages, on the other hand, reimburse you for consequences that are difficult to assign a monetary value, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of consortium or permanent disability.
If someone has been killed by the hit-and-run driver, funeral, and burial costs will be added to all of the above compensatory damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, if the defendant’s behavior is particularly egregious — driving off and leaving an injured person to die may qualify! — you (the plaintiff) may also be entitled to punitive damages.
Punitive damages are monies offered not as compensation to the injured party, but rather as punishment to the offender. They are also designed to discourage anyone else from committing similar horrendous acts. But if the defendant was liable for hit and run on top of having caused the car accident, the damages ordered by the court will almost surely be increased. Often in New Jersey, “treble damages” will be imposed on the guilty party, meaning the original compensatory damages will be tripled.
What Happens If the Hit-and-Run Driver in New Jersey Is Not Caught or Is Uninsured?
If the driver who hit you is never found, or if he or she is found but does not have insurance, what then? New Jersey is a “no-fault” state; it is also one of several no-fault states that allow injured parties to make a no-fault claim with their own insurance carriers. The way it works is that New Jersey drivers are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) which will cover them if they are injured by an uninsured hit-and-run driver. PIP, however, will not cover property damage, only personal injury. To be compensated for property damage, you must carry a collision on your own insurance policy.
Contact Our New Jersey Hit And Run Car Accident Attorney
Being the victim of a hit-and-run driver is particularly distressing because you have been hurt and abandoned by the very person responsible for your pain. At Nagel Rice, we understand the depth of your trauma. As your legal representatives, we share your anger and frustration at a person who seems to lack normal human concern. You can count on our car accident attorney to support you in every possible way and to make sure that you receive the funds you need to get you back on your feet. We can be reached by phone or through a contact form on our website.
Nagel Rice LLP helps their clients with their hit-and-run car accident claims throughout New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Sussex County.