Pedestrian Hit and Runs
The stress and devastation inflicted upon the victim of a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming in and of itself. But imagine being struck by a motorist who then flees the scene of the accident. Whether an injured victim, or a family member of a person killed, most victims share the same sentiment—a desire to seek justice by ensuring that the motorist responsible is held accountable to the fullest extent possible. This reaction is not only a warranted one, but a natural one as well. At Zneimer & Zneimer, we recognize the anxiety and unease that a victim can experience following a hit-and-run crash. We understand your need for aggressive advocacy, as well as a counseling on a personal level to address any concerns you may have, so that you can focus on recuperating from your injuries, or grieving over your loss.
Hit-and-run accidents are distinct in the sense that they involve an intersection of two areas of law—criminal and civil. In other words, leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal, as well as civil liability. Most victims would like to see both consequences imposed upon a hit-and-run driver. However, it is important to know that one does not depend on the other, meaning that the driver responsible need not be charged (criminally) in order to be held liable civilly. In fact, in some cases, the victim of a pedestrian hit-and-run can recover financial compensation, even when the motorist is never located.
For many victims, peace of mind is found in knowing that the remedies available to them, at least civilly, are not always dependent on determining the identity of the driver that caused the crash. There must, however, be a source from which to seek compensation from, and this applies regardless as to whether driver and/or vehicle involved is ultimately identified. Understanding what options may be available to you is a critical first step to seeking recovery.
Let’s say authorities are able to locate the driver responsible for the hit-and-run. From the victim’s perspective, this scenario is often considered to be the most ideal one, partly because victims typically want to know who caused them harm. However, from an injury claim perspective, we must also consider whether the driver or vehicle involved was insured under an insurance policy that covers bodily harm sustained in the accident.
If the driver was either uninsured, or carried insufficient coverage to compensate the victim, then identifying alternate sources of compensation can be crucial to recovering damages. While a hit-and-run driver can be held personally liable in a civil action for harm caused to a victim, this type of judgment award can be difficult to collect if the tortfeasor has no ability or means to pay. Stated differently, the better approach to obtaining compensation is generally to seek damages from a more readily available source, such as an insurance policy.
Many pedestrians don’t realize that may be covered under a policy that they carry. For example, the victim’s own auto insurance may cover personal injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, even though the insured was not actually in a vehicle when the incident occurred. In some cases, the victim may even be covered under a homeowner’s or renter’s policy. The terms of your policy must be reviewed in order to determine whether coverage is available. However, because policy terms can be difficult to interpret, and often time are ambiguously worded, it is important to have a legal professional review your case before making any assumptions regarding policy coverage, or relying on what your insurer tells you.
If you or a loved one were in a hit-and-run crash, the Chicago Injury Lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. want to help you recover the compensation you deserve. We offer free, no-obligation personal injury consultations, and never charge a fee unless we obtain a financial award on your behalf. Contact us today to discuss your case with our experienced team of pedestrian accident attorneys.