Chicago Hit & Run Attorney
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is frustrating and time-consuming when both the at-fault party and the victim party are accounted for. However, when the at-fault party flees the scene of the accident before the victim has time to gather information, an already trying situation goes from bad to worse. This is because the victim party cannot hold anyone accountable for their injuries, which means they must foot the ensuing bills (medical, car repair, etc.) themselves. Or does it? At Dwyer & Coogan, our Chicago hit and run attorneys help accident victims and their families recover compensation for harms caused to them, regardless of the odds.
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Illinois Hit & Run Laws
Hitting a vehicle and then fleeing the scene of the accident is, as you probably well know, against the law. However, despite the fact that every state outlaws this type of reckless disregard for others’ safety and wellbeing, hit and runs happen every day, several times a day. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit and run accidents account for 11 percent of all car accidents each year.
Still, Illinois laws are very clear on the illegality of leaving the scene of an accident. Per Sec. 5/11-401, all drivers who are involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in the injury or death of any person are required to stop at the scene of said accident—or as close to the scene as possible. If they travel beyond the scene of the accident, they must return to it and remain there until the requirements, which Section 11-403 details, have been fulfilled.
Options After a Hit & Run Accident
In an ideal situation, you and your attorney can locate the at-fault driver and ensure they are held accountable for your damages. You can help law enforcement and investigators locate the driver by giving them as much detail about the hit and run vehicle as possible. This includes the make and model of the vehicle, the color, and where damage to said vehicle is likely located. If you notice any distinguishing factors, such as a “My Child Was Student of the Month at XYZ Elementary” bumper sticker or an out-of-state license plate, bring this to the investigators’ attention. All this information can go a long way toward helping a qualified team locate the at-fault driver.
In the event you cannot locate the at-fault driver, you may have no choice but to file a claim with your own insurance company. Under Illinois law, insurance providers must include the legally required minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage in all liability insurance policies. The minimum is for bodily injury or death only and covers the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy, and possibly pain and suffering. It does not, however, cover property damage. If you want to ensure your repair bills are covered, you need to purchase collision, comprehensive, or uninsured property damage coverage.
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Though uninsured motorist coverage is no fault coverage, individuals often have a hard time recovering a fair amount from their own insurance companies. As in standard car accident cases, providers will only pay out the bare minimum and try to settle the case as quickly as possible before an attorney can get involved. Typically, the settlement is far less than what the injured party needs to cover the cost of immediate and long-term medical bills, not to mention other damages.
An experienced Chicago hit and run attorney can assess the value of your case and work to ensure you recover no less than what you deserve. To learn how we can help settle your case in an efficient and favorable manner, contact Dwyer & Coogan today.