Legally, a hit-and-run accident is defined as any accident involving a vehicle leaving the scene of a crime. A hit and run can involve a vehicle hitting a pedestrian, a vehicle hitting another vehicle such as a motorcycle, or a vehicle hitting a piece of property and causing property damage. The law requires any person involved in any type of car accident to stop in a safe place and provide their insurance information to the other party. Breaking this law by causing a hit-and-run accident is a serious crime and can result in serious legal consequences.
Additionally, if anyone at the scene of the accident has suffered an injury, by law, it’s required in most states for the driver to contact emergency services or transport the victim to the hospital at the very minimum. If the accident is severe, the police must also be notified. When a driver fails to do any of these actions in a hit-and-run accident, they are breaking several laws. Depending on the severity of the injuries and/or damages caused, that driver could face serious civil charges and criminal charges. This is why contacting a Louisville, KY hit and run accident lawyer immediately after the accident is crucial.
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Reporting a Hit and Run
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a hit-and-run crime, it’s imperative that action is taken as quickly as possible after the accident occurs. Oftentimes it’s difficult to track down the identity of the driver since they leave the scene, so any bit of details leading to the identity of the driver or vehicle will help the police catch the driver. License plate numbers, pictures of the vehicle, or any distinguishing vehicle trademarks will help tremendously. Nearby security camera footage may also be of assistance.
Time is often of the essence during a hit-and-run report. Report the crime to the police immediately and follow up as soon as possible with a personal injury lawyer who’s experienced in hit-and-run cases like Tad Thomas at Thomas Law Offices.
Consequences of a Hit and Run
Depending on the nature of the damages and/or injuries caused during the hit-and-run accident, civil charges and/or criminal charges may result. If the case is brought up under civil charges, punitive damages will often be rewarded to the victim which are designed to serve as a warning regarding the severity of a hit-and-run crime.
Such damages are meant to punish bad conduct and prevent future hit-and-run cases. Punitive damages are rewarded based on the financial status of the driver which means they may be over and above the damages intended to cover standard medical expenses and lost wages alone.
If a criminal case is opened, the accident will likely be defined as a misdemeanor or felony. For criminal cases, the hit-and-run driver may have to serve jail time.
Kentucky’s No-Fault Policy
The above charges can only be delivered, of course, if the driver of the hit-and-run accident can be found. This is why quick reporting and evidence gathering is a must after any hit-and-run crime occurs. If the victim of the accident cannot provide any evidence to help police track down the driver or if the police can’t find any security camera coverage near the crime scene, the case may be dropped.
If the case is dropped, the victim may be forced to collect from their own insurance policy in order to receive help paying for any damages or injuries suffered. In Kentucky, this can be done with a no-fault claim. Kentucky is a no-fault state which makes it considerably easier to open up an insurance claim if the driver during a hit and run is not caught.
There are coverage limitations to most no-fault insurance claims, however, so be sure to do the required research and/or speak to a legal expert regarding your options before opening a no-fault claim.
Reaching Out to a Louisville, KY Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one requires the aid of a Louisville, KY hit and run accident lawyer who has experience in all types of vehicle-related accidents, contact Tad Thomas today. Thomas Law Offices, a law office based in Louisville, KY, is here to get you the help you deserve and bring your family peace of mind. No one should have to needlessly suffer from a hit-and-run accident.