Miami is not unaccustomed to tragic hit-and-run cases. In late September, in fact, Miami-Dade police captain Tyrone White—father of New England Patriots running back James White—was killed in a car crash which involved a driver fleeing the scene. Captain White was driving with his wife Lisa in their Volkswagen at the time. Lisa White survived but her husband was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.
While a case of the wrongful death of an officer has its own set of complications not commonly found among everyday hit-and-run accidents, this locally high-profile incident may lead one to wonder: What options do victims and their loved ones have when an at-fault driver takes off? After all, you can’t make a claim with a driver’s insurance company without having their information.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should Cover a Hit-and-Run
If you have been in an accident in which one or more at-fault drivers fled the scene, your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage should cover you. Unfortunately, not everyone in Florida has UM coverage as it’s not required by state law – as it is in several states throughout the nation.
What Will Happen if the Police Catch the Hit-and-Run Driver?
In the case of Tyrone White, the driver who fled turned himself in to the sheriff’s office a month after the incident. Penalties for a hit-and-run charge of this magnitude can be upwards of a first-degree felony and several years in prison. And while fleeing the scene of such a tragic car accident certainly warrants a criminal charge, what about the family suffering from the loss?
Not only do car accidents create substantial losses from medical bills, but many also leave individuals and families without the income necessary to make ends meet. Car accidents can lead to paralysis, broken limbs, torn ligaments, amputations – all of which may require extensive treatment like physical therapy and skin grafting.
If the injury itself doesn’t put the victim out of work, they are likely to use up all paid time off hours (if they have these benefits) simply recovering from injury. This could lead to tens of thousands of dollars lost in yearly income, if not a whole career.
Make a Claim and, if Necessary, Pursue Damages in Court
A personal injury lawyer can assist you with the steps needed to seek compensation for injuries in a car accident, whether the driver is caught or not. Should the driver be brought to justice and be summoned to a criminal court, you may also seek damages through litigation in a civil court.
A successful personal injury lawsuit will have proved that the at-fault driver was negligent and that their negligence directly resulted in the injuries of those involved in the crash. What does it mean for a driver to be negligent? Whenever anyone is found negligent, it means that they had a role to uphold—in this case, as a driver—and failed to adhere to the duties of that role in a reasonable manner.
Types of Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident
If awarded compensation by a personal injury court, your compensation will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Some special cases, like a hit-and-run case, may warrant additional compensation as a punishment to the defendant – known as punitive damages.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help in a Hit-and-Run Case?
Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to examine all details relevant to your car accident. They will also have a network of resources and suggestions available to you, so you don’t feel overwhelmed with all the necessary steps during this chaotic time. What’s more, lawyers are adept at understanding the full extent of the losses car accident injuries will incur.
If, for example, you have a complex back injury as a result of the accident and it doesn’t look like your back will heal anytime soon, a car accident lawyer will work to ensure you have the full amount of compensation necessary to pay for past, current, and future losses.
A Law Firm with Years of Experience and Extensive Personal Injury Knowledge
Car accidents, especially those involving a hit-and-run, are nothing to take lightly. If you were involved in a serious motor vehicle wreck, Aigen Law Firm has the background and resources necessary to help you seek compensation for your injuries. We also offer a contingency-based fee system, which means you don’t pay legal fees unless we collect damage recovery for you.
Connect with our office for a free consultation to learn more about your options.