According to the last available statistics, there was an estimated hit-and-run crash every 43 seconds in the United States. In 2016, there were 2,049 hit-and-run fatalities which accounted for 5.5% of total traffic fatalities that year. This is the highest number since the static has been tracked.
Becoming the victim of a car accident can add a great amount of stress and hardship to one’s life. However, a hit-and-run accident brings its own set of unique problems. When another driver crashes into your own vehicle and then speeds away it can make the victims feel helpless. Not knowing the identity of the at-fault driver can make victims feel as if they do not remedy under the law for compensation, however, this may not be the case. If you do find yourself in this situation, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options.
Louisiana law Defines a hit-and-run accident as the intentional failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in or causing any accident, to stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident, to give his identity, and render reasonable aid.
Louisiana law asserts obligations upon drivers that have been involved in car accidents. All drivers involved in a collision must stay at the scene of the accident, share their identity, and render reasonable aid. Failure to satisfy these obligations can have a negative impact on your insurance and may result in the suspension of one’s driver’s license. Additionally, a party will be in violation of Louisiana criminal law if they choose to flee the scene after the accident.
Louisiana law holds offenders of a hit-and-run criminally responsible with the penalty potentially including jail time and a fine that will increase if the victim of the accident is injured.
May A Victim Of A Hit And Run Sue The Perpetrator To Recover The Damages From The Accident?
A key to answering this question depends on if the at-fault party can be identified. If the victim is unable to identify the driver personally, identification of the vehicle used in the accident may also be sufficient to then locate its owner to hold responsible. If the victim can find the owner of the vehicle, they may not have to prove that he was driving the car at the time of the accident.
If you become the victim of a hit-and-run accident you should first tend to your or your passengers’ injuries if any are present. After this is completed, you should contact the local police no matter the severity of the damage or injuries.
It will then be important to gather as much information as you can. You should look for any eyewitnesses that remained at the scene. This may include pedestrians or other drivers that were on the road around you when the accident occurred. You should ask these parties if they saw the license plate number of the vehicle that fled the scene. You should also ask any witnesses if they are willing to describe the vehicle or the driver to the responding police officers. It is crucial that you take pictures of your vehicle and the injuries that you or your passengers may have suffered. You should also ask for a copy of the police report to send to your insurer. If the driver is later identified, then you may sue them personally for the damages that you sustained.
If you are unable to find either the at-fault driver or their vehicle, there may be another available option through your insurance. If the victim of the hit and run carriers uninsured motorist coverage, then they may file a claim through their insurance for compensation even without the at-fault driver’s identity. This claim will be treated in the same manner as if you had been involved in an accident with a driver who did not possess insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional in Louisiana. It is often too late to choose this type of coverage after an accident happens. Therefore, it is important for all drivers to carry this cover before they find themselves in a situation where they need it.
Victims Of Hit And Run Accidents In Louisiana May Recover From A Wide Array Of Injuries And Damages Which Include:
- Medical expenses
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Damages for the repair of their vehicle
- Physical disability
Victims of hit-and-run accidents in Louisiana should know that all hope is not lost. Louisiana law provides remedies to help you and your loved ones begin to put your lives back together after such an incident and the team at Scott Vicknair is available to help you explore your options.
Contact one of our personal injury attorneys at 504-500-1111 for a free consultation on your personal injury claim today!