hit and run accident

The Legal Implications of Hit-and-Run Accidents: How to Seek Justice and Compensation

By Greg Kohn

A person who illegally flees from the scene of a car crash in New Jersey could face both criminal and civil liability. The severity of the criminal charges will depend on factors like the extent of the property damages and whether someone was injured or died from the collision. Hit-and-run drivers can also get sued in civil court for monetary damages by people who get injured in these collisions. 

If the hit-and-run driver never gets caught, however, you might be able to seek compensation from your own insurance policy. A New Jersey hit and run accident attorney could help you in either situation. This blog will discuss the legal implications of hit-and-run accidents: how to seek justice and compensation.

Car Insurance in New Jersey

Our state has an unusual system of liability for car accidents, in that a person can choose between two types of no-fault insurance coverage. “Standard” car insurance provides higher dollar amounts of coverage than “basic” policies at a higher premium cost.

“No-fault” means that people typically turn to their own automobile insurance policy to pay their losses, even if the other driver caused the collision. Because New Jersey is a no-fault state, the injured person’s own policy can pay some of their damages whether the hit-and-run driver gets caught or not. 

Standard car insurance policies offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage that can help pay some of your damages if the driver who caused the accident did not carry the required liability insurance. Insurance companies treat hit-and-run drivers the same as uninsured drivers. 

When You Can Sue the At-Fault Driver in New Jersey

If New Jersey is a no-fault state, why are we talking about the other driver? No-fault in New Jersey only applies to car accident claims that are minor or moderate. If you have a personal injury claim for serious injuries, you can sue the party who caused the collision.

Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury Claims in New Jersey

Once you satisfy the requirements to have a claim for serious injuries in our state, your claim could include the same categories of money damages that fault states allow.

  • Medical expenses. The reasonable cost of the treatment you needed for your wounds is typically recoverable. 
  • Lost wages. If you missed paychecks while recuperating from your injuries, your claim can include this financial loss.
  • Pain and suffering. This category addresses the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the crash and your injuries.

Also, if your close relative died because of a collision, the family might be able to file a wrongful death claim seeking additional compensation for their losses.

Things to Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash in New Jersey

The more information you can give the police, the greater the likelihood that they will catch the fleeing driver. Try to make a note of the color, make, model, and age of the vehicle. Notice the direction it traveled away from the scene. The license plate will be valuable information, even if you only saw part of the plate numbers or letters. Any detail about the vehicle, like a dent or scratch, could help the police solve the case.

Hit-and-run accident injury cases are complicated. You will want to work with a New Jersey personal injury attorney on your claim. You can reach out to us today for a free consultation with no obligation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.