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Lake Charles Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers
Being involved in an accident is always frightening. What’s even more distressing is getting into an accident and being completely deserted. Yet, hit-and-run accidents are a reality for many Louisiana motorists. Not only are victims left helpless at the scene of a collision, but they are often left vulnerable and confused as they try to recover compensation for their injuries.
The Lake Charles car accident lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC know how complicated hit-and-run cases can get. That is why we focus on providing hit-and-run victims with meaningful information about the best path forward for recovering valuable compensation. We then help build a compelling case the offers the highest possibility of producing a favorable outcome.
If you are hurt in a hit-and-run accident, get an experienced Louisiana attorney on your side immediately. Contact our office today or call 337-800-8800 and get a free consultation about the specifics of your case.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Hit-and-run accidents are generally accidents where one driver flees the scene without exchanging information with the other driver. Louisiana officially defines the offense as an accident where one driver intentionally fails to stop, meaning they do not provide their identity and do not help render reasonable aid to others involved in the collision.
There are several reasons why a driver may run from the scene of a crash. Some drivers have a strong “fight or flight” response to stressful situations. Instead of holding the flight urge in check, they run, leaving the other driver to fend for themselves. Other drivers flee accident scenes because they fear the repercussions of their actions, especially in cases where the driver may be drunk or otherwise doing something illegal at the time of the accident.
Common Injuries from Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents can cause significant injuries. What’s worse, injured victims are left abandoned in a stressful situation with no one to help them if they are incapacitated or trapped. With no one to render aid, injuries can quickly become life-threatening. A handful of the most common hit-and-run accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Dental injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Internal injuries
Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Accident
Intentionally leaving the scene of an accident in Louisiana is illegal. Motorists charged with a hit-and-run violation can face severe fines and even jail time if they are convicted. In most instances, a hit-and-run offense is considered a misdemeanor. However, in certain circumstances, a hit-and-run accident can rise to the level of a felony if serious injuries or death are involved. The penalties for hit-and-run in Louisiana include:
- Fines up to $500
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Fines up to $5,000
- Prison time up to 10 years with or without hard labor
Those charged with a hit-and-run can face more than just potential criminal penalties. Drivers may also face civil lawsuits from victims. A civil lawsuit is a way for victims to not only hold the driver accountable for their actions, but it is a way to potentially recover compensation for their injuries.
Compensation Available for Victims of Louisiana Hit-and-Run Accidents
Several means for recovering compensation exist, depending on the circumstances of the accident. If the hit-and-run driver is found, a victim may be able to recover compensation by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. A victim could also choose to file a personal injury lawsuit or a civil case against the hit-and-run driver.
In either case, a victim should understand that Louisiana follows a pure comparative fault system for determining the amount of compensation that a victim is entitled to receive. In a pure comparative fault system, a victim can attempt to recover compensation from an at-fault driver. However, the victim’s portion of compensation will depend on how much responsibility they bear for causing the accident. If a victim is ten percent at fault, their compensation will be reduced by ten percent. Under this model, even at-fault drivers can recover compensation, but generally, their share is dramatically reduced.
The pure comparative fault system binds the decisions of the courts. While it does not mandate how an insurer will value a claim, insurers generally take into consideration how a court would rule before estimating the value of a claim. Typically, a victim should be able to seek money for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
In cases where the hit-and-run driver is not found, a victim may file a claim with their own insurer. Whether the claim is paid will generally depend on the type of policy that the victim holds. A full coverage car insurance policy will typically pay for property damage and medical expenses following a hit-and-run collision. Minimum coverage policies may not cover any of the expenses related to a hit-and-run accident.
Uninsured or underinsured coverage policies may also help cover expenses related to a hit-and-run accident. However, Louisiana is one of the few states that does not require drivers to carry UIM coverage. If the driver cannot be found, review your auto insurance policy to see if your policy includes coverage that will pick up the cost of your medical expenses and property damage.
Louisiana Hit-and-Run Statistics
Louisiana State University has compiled shocking statistics about the number of hit-and-run accidents that occur in the state each year. A report published by the school indicates that in 2019, there were 17,860 hit-and-run crashes in the state. These crashes caused a total of 4,176 injuries and resulted in 36 deaths.
Contact an Experienced Louisiana Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney Today
A reckless driver took a chance with your life by leaving the scene of the accident. Don’t take a chance with your hit-and-run accident claim. Contact a skilled hit-and-run attorney with Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC today. Our legal team can review your situation, investigate the accident, and help you sort through your options for recovering valuable compensation.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and need help getting the money you deserve, contact our office today. We offer a free and confidential case review with an attorney who can help you understand your rights and lay out your legal options.