Hit-and-Run Accidents

The Illinois Car Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. represent the victims of hit-and-run crashes that occurred in and around the Chicago Metropolitan area. Collisions in which a motorists flees the scene of an accident are more common than one may think, accounting for more than a tenth of all car crashes involving injury, and approximately of a fifth of all fatal crashes, nationwide. However, for the City of Chicago, the percentage of hit-and-run fatalities is much higher—40%--a figure that is double the nationwide average.

Hit-and-run accidents are unique, in that they often involve a combination of psychological trauma that is unique to this type of accident, as well as a both a criminal and civil component. From the psychological view, being injured or losing a loved one, through the callous actions of a motorist that fled the scene, and without rendering assistance, can be highly unsettling. From the criminal perspective, the immediate focus is generally identifying and locating the culprit, followed by prosecuting that individual for the injury or death they caused, and to the fullest extent possible. From the civil law standpoint, the ability to obtain financial compensation for damages and losses incurred, is a concern shared by most victims.

While advances in forensic science, surveillance cameras and use of social media/online resources to aide in the investigation process, have contributed greatly to the identification of hit-and-run culprits, the fact still remains, that the majority of hit-and-run crashes do not get solved. Fortunately, it is not always necessary to locate the hit-and-run driver in order for the victim to obtain financial compensation. For example, auto policies that include uninsured motorist coverage can provide hit-and-run victims with a means of recovering damages incurred due to injury or death.

A homeowners or renters insurance policy may also cover damages sustained in a hit-and-run accident. However, this will generally depend on the factual circumstances of the incident, as well as the contractual terms stated within the policy. It is important to have an experienced legal professional that can evaluate your matter, and determine which sources are appropriate to seek compensation from.

Accidents involving a hit-and-run driver come in many forms. In some cases, the driver of one vehicle may flee the scene after striking another vehicle. However, more common with hit-and-run incidents, are those in which the fleeing motorist strikes a victim that is unable to give chase, either due to their mode of transportation, or due to the victim’s incapacitation. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, are amongst the most common victims in hit-and-run crashes, due to their decreased ability to give chase to the driver given their mode of transportation, combined with the fact that they are more likely to be severely injured or killed.

According to 2012 crash data for the City of Chicago, more than two-thirds of all bicycle and pedestrian crashes involving fatality, and close two-fifths of all bicycle and pedestrian crashes involving bodily injury were hit-and-run incidents. With only a slight variation in percentage, Chicago’s hit and run statistics for bicyclists and pedestrians have remained fairly consistent for more than a decade. As Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys, we find this data to be highly concerning, especially when considering that not every hit and run accident is reported. [See also, ‘ Hit and Run Bicycle Accidents’].

Although each are equally inexcusable explanations to leave a victim suffering in a roadway, common reasons include impaired or drunk driving; driving without a license or without insurance; or evading police due to a warrant for arrest, or concern over the possession of illegal substances. It is important to know that in Illinois, in addition to monetary compensation for actual losses, the court can also award punitive damages to a victim, where the defendant’s conduct was intentional and/or ‘willful and wanton’ (i.e. the defendant was driving under the influence).

If you or a loved one were the victim of a hit-and-run crash, knowing your legal rights and options is the first step. With over three decades of practice experience, the Chicago car accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. continue to provide our clients with the sound legal representation necessary to attain results. From day one, we will begin to identify compensation sources, evaluate types of damages you may be entitled to recover, as well as gather and preserve evidence.

Comprehensive case evaluations are provided free of charge to all personal injury victims. Contact us today to discuss your case, at 773-516-4100.

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