After a serious car accident, the expectation is that both drivers will exchange contact information and insurance information, and possibly contact the police. But the reality is many drivers flee the scene of the accident. They become scared and decide not to face the consequences.
According to one personal injury lawyer Northfield NJ citizens often feel like they’ve been victimized twice: once when they crashed, and again when the other party left the scene. However, drivers leaving the scene of a hit and run face a misdemeanor charge, six months of jail time in New Jersey, not to mention a driver’s license suspension for a year and a $5,000 fine.
In every state, you have an affirmative duty to stop, and return to the scene when involved in a motor vehicle accident. You must provide information for the other driver or police or, if no one is present, do everything possible to locate the driver and provide all relevant information before leaving the scene. And if someone has been injured, the law requires that you provide reasonable help. In some cases, drivers don’t always follow the law, but victims are still protected.
Hit And Run Victims Are Still Insured
Many people mistakenly think that they are not legally entitled to financial compensation if the driver who caused their injuries runs off. The reality is, however, that the laws of New Jersey provide injured motorists and pedestrians with protection through uninsured automobile policies. For example, if you have uninsured motorist insurance coverage, it can be much easier for you to seek compensation for your personal injuries and property damage.
Even as an injured pedestrian, you can apply for compensation through your insurance company or through the NJ Property Assurance Guaranty Association if you do not have insurance of your own. However, do not assume that your insurance company will automatically approve your accident claim, and pay all expenses. While you should not be on the hook for the resulting medical bills, vehicle replacement costs, or lost wages, you may find that there are multiple hurdles for compensation.
How To Proceed At A Hit And Run
Every accident, even if it has no serious consequences, leaves us shaken up and scared. But if you have the misfortune that the other car takes off, you should to try to collect as much information as possible, like color and make of vehicle, license plate, and everything that can help locate that car and the driver. It is better to remain at the scene, call the police, and ambulance if injured, and allow police to speak to any witnesses.
Normally, in a two-vehicle accident, you would exchange information, but in a hit and run, you must rely on your insurance company and police reports to paint a picture of what occurred. Nothing prevents the victim affected from directly representing themselves and providing the insurance company with all necessary information, but hit and run crimes become complex, and time often elapses before receiving compensation. Victims that represent themselves often get stuck paying a lot of expenses out-of-pocket. It’s advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to handle the claim to ensure you receive more than your customary reasonable costs.