A hit and run accident takes a greater toll on the victim than just getting into an accident. This is because of the emotional trauma that often associates with a hit and run accident. The victim is left to fend for him or herself, and the injuries might be worse if help ends up being delayed.
However, not all hit and run accidents involve an injury. According to a recent study, in Sacramento, around 35% of all hit and run accidents end in injury. The study looked at hit and run accidents reported to police during 2017 and 2018 and found that there were 2,233 total hit and run crashes with 777 injuries and 22 deaths.
Hit and Run Injury Accidents
The reason this is important is that once the driver flees, it’s no longer just an accident but it’s now a crime. In most states, a hit and run with injury is a felony and punishment can include jail time. Also, the victim is left at the scene often alone and with no means of contacting the authorities if unconscious or their phone is broken.
This creates more mental and emotional pain as well. Being injured by the violence of a car accident and then left can make the person feel twice victimized. In most states, personal injury law allows for mental anguish as a compensable injury.
Liability in a Hit and Run Accident
Another problem with a hit and run accident is that since the at-fault driver isn’t known, it’s impossible to get compensation from the driver’s insurance company. In a Los Angeles Daily News article, the LAPD reported only finding 8% of all hit and run drivers. This underscores how difficult it is to locate someone who flees an accident scene. To their credit, LA prosecutors filed charges in 73% of those that were caught.
If the driver is never found, then the victim is left few options. If the victim has their own auto policy and has uninsured and underinsured motorist’s coverage, then that can be used to pay the victim for their injuries and other financial losses. If the victim is eventually found, then the insurance company can go after the at-fault driver to recoup the money they paid.
Although not as emotional and frustrating, when the only damage is to a vehicle, the victim still has to deal with their financial losses and not having the at-fault driver to pay. If the victim has a comprehensive policy, then their car will at least be fixed. However, this might up the victim’s rates. Then if the victim has liability only, then the victimization continues.