The number of hit and run accidents in Philadelphia is staggering, and surprisingly, some drivers get away with the crime. Recently in Philadelphia, a 52- year- old victim was struck while crossing the street, and the driver fled the scene. However, the Ashton Police eventually arrested the driver.
Nevertheless, many victims are not so lucky. Their perpetrator is never apprehended or brought to justice. Without a personal injury attorney, many victims will never receive the compensation they are entitled to receive.
Here are several ways to get compensation from a hit and run accident. However, the best way to ensure getting the best settlement is to hire a qualified personal injury attorney. Until then, take notice of three legal avenues to pursue.
Pursuing A Hit And Run Accident Claim
Civil Suit and Punitive Damage
A civil suit opens the door for “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are available when a driver recklessly or carelessly causes harm to another person. The victim is entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
Punitive damage payments are a severe form of punishment, and are awarded to prevent any reoccurring bad behavior. This type of punishment serves as a warning to others who might be tempted to flee the scene of an accident, and not own up to their responsibility.
Accidents Reports in Philadelphia
A recent study shows the number of hit and run accidents in Pennsylvania. These numbers include:
- Five accidents in Erie, PA
- 190 accidents in Pittsburg, PA
- 31 accidents in Wilkes Barre- Scranton, PA
- 43 Johnstown- Altoona, PA
- 214 accidents in Philadelphia, PA
The most recent traffic accidents to take place in Pennsylvania, involved 14 auto accidents, where 14 people lost their lives, and more than 25 people were injured. In at least three of the accidents, the motorist fled the scene, before officers arrived. In cases such as these, the guilty parties are rarely caught, and brought to justice.
How to Get Compensation for Hit and Run Accidents
When hit and run drivers leave the scene of the accident, without forwarding their personal information, victims must rely on their own insurance company to pick up the tab. However, officers are required to conduct an investigation, to look into locating the perpetrator.
This is done through acquiring surveillance camera footage, eye- witness accounts, or a license plate number. States like Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, North Dakota, Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania are no fault states. Read more here about no fault states.
What Does This Mean for Hit- and Run Victims
This simply means that hit and run victims can file a claim with their insurance company, whereas, victims in the other remaining states, must file an uninsured, or under insured motorist claim. No fault insurance pays for medical bills, and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault.
States vary on the amount of compensation they will pay, and other states have no maximum payout amount. When drivers opt for no- fault compensation, they are actually putting in a PIP or personal injury protection claim. Every state has a maximum payout amount for medical bills, loss earnings, and personal property damage.
Once the maximum amount is exhausted, the victim is responsible for paying the remainder of the bill, unless the driver is found and held accountable.
Consider Hiring Experienced Legal Counsel
Nevertheless, when the negligent party is found, that person can be sued in the court of law. However, victims should not pursue their own case against an insurance company. Experience is the best representation in any personal injury case. Making a claim is easy to do, but getting just compensation is another matter to deal with.
Therefore, seek legal counsel before making a claim, and be sure to cooperate fully with the insurance company. Give and get accurate statements, get a physical examination, and make sure the attorney is experienced and knowledgeable in interpreting the legal aspects of PIP or personal injury protection laws.