Important Hit and Run Accident Facts
A hit and run accident is one in which one party leaves the scene without leaving any contact information. Unless one party is in need of immediate medical attention, anyone involved in the accident is required to stay at the scene and provide specific information to law enforcement. A person who commits a hit and run can be found guilty of a felony and have his or her driver’s license revoked. If the accident results in a death, the hit and run driver can be charged with a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by three to 14 years in prison.
What is Considered a ‘Hit and Run’ in Chicago?
Hit and run accidents are not limited to an automobile driver hitting a pedestrian. A hit and run can occur when a driver hits another vehicle that is parked and unattended. If the driver does not leave any contact information, such as a note on the windshield, or make any reasonable attempts to notify the owner of the parked car of what happened, then that driver has committed a hit and run.
Additionally, two vehicles can get into an accident, and if one of the drivers flees the scene, that driver has committed a hit and run. Hit and runs can also include a collision between a car and and a bicyclist, motorcyclist or anyone else out on the road. Regardless of who is at fault, there needs to be an exchange of contact information, or else a hit and run has occurred.
How you can avoid being the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident
In order to avoid hit and run accidents, it would be best to practice defensive driving techniques. This is particularly true for a city like Chicago, where the streets are filled with pedestrians, bicyclist and motorcycles. Drivers should check all blind spots before changing lanes or turning, just in case a bicycle may be pulling up along side them. Drivers should also take care to stop at the appropriate lines to avoid hitting pedestrians in crosswalks, and then proceed with caution before making turns. Anyone paying attention to their surroundings and driving with care while out on the road can help to reduce the incidence of hit and run accidents in Chicago.
What to do if you are involved in a Hit and Run
Hit and run drivers may be hesitant to turn themselves in because they are afraid of the repercussions of their actions, particularly if they were driving under the influence at the time of the accident. Eyewitness accounts can be valuable in identifying the driver. They can provide information about the type of vehicle or have noticed the license plate number. Most people now are carrying smartphones and may have been able to snap a photo or take a video at the scene. It is important to take down any witness accounts of the accident if you are able to do so.
People believe that if a hit and run driver is never found, they will be unable to receive compensation. However, if you are involved in a hit an run accident, you do have options. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage on your own car insurance policy, your insurer can cover the damages you’ve suffered due to your injury. Your insurer may even assist you in trying to identify the hit and run driver. However, if they believe the driver can be found, they may be reluctant to pay you, so you should seek legal advice from a hit and run accident attorney when dealing with your insurance company. There are also time limitations on making a uninsured motorist claim, so it’s best to work with an attorney who can assist you in filing the proper paperwork on time.
For more information regarding your rights following a Chicago hit and run accident, contact an experienced hit and run attorney from The Horowitz Law Group – 312-641-9200.