A vehicle accident can be doubly distressing if the driver who injured you has fled the scene. You are left worrying about finding the person at fault, on top of suffering your injuries, medical bills, and disrupted routine.
If you have been seriously hurt in a hit-and-run collision, get the help of a personal injury lawyer to ensure that you are properly compensated. In New Jersey, call us at the Grossman Law Firm for top-notch legal services. We can help you maximize your compensation claim and get back on track after your accident.
Free Consultation: Call (732) 625-9494.
How Will I Be Compensated In A Hit-And-Run Case?
New Jersey follows the “no fault” insurance rule. Under this rule, you are covered by your own insurance company first in any kind of auto accident, regardless of who was at fault. Every motorist in NJ is required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. You’ll have to claim from your own PIP coverage for medical costs, lost income, and other related expenses following the accident.
However, many car crashes result in damages that are more substantial than what PIP covers. If your damages exceed your personal injury protection policy limits, you’ll want to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. Your options here depend on whether or not the driver is found.
If The Hit-And-Run Driver Is Found
In New Jersey, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense, which means that the fleeing driver could face a criminal case with potential fines and jail time. On top of this, you, as the injured party, may also bring your own civil case against the driver.
Your civil lawsuit could compensate you for economic damages (those that have monetary value like medical bills) as well as non-economic damages (those that are less tangible like pain and suffering). In certain cases where the at-fault driver was extremely reckless, you may also claim for “punitive damages”. This is an amount you receive not as compensation but as punishment for the person who acted recklessly.
Note that your ability to sue could be affected by the kind of insurance policy you have. Some policies are “unlimited tort”, allowing you to bring a lawsuit when you decide to. But others are “limited tort” insurance policies, which bar you from suing the other driver unless your injury is legally considered “serious”. Check to see what kind of insurance policy you are carrying, and don’t hesitate to talk to a lawyer to see your available options.
If The Hit-And-Run Driver Is Not Found
You will still be covered by your PIP insurance even if the at-fault driver is not apprehended by authorities. Unfortunately, you would have nobody to sue for more substantial damages. In this case, you will need to find other avenues to get maximum compensation for all the losses you’ve suffered.
One option is to claim from your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This is also a required insurance policy for motorists in NJ. A hit-and-run accident where the guilty party is not found can be treated as an uninsured/underinsured case.
Consult with an experienced attorney to find other avenues for compensation, and to learn how to maximize your insurance claim.
Dos And Don’ts After Getting Injured In A Hit-And-Run Crash in New Jersey
- Do try to capture as much information as you can. If possible, take photos of the driver, their vehicle, their license plate, and the direction they are headed. If you can’t take pictures, try to remember these identifying details and write them down as soon as you can. Also document your injuries and damage to your car.
- Do seek medical attention immediately. Getting treated by a doctor is important not only to address your injuries but also to support your injury claim later on.
- Do call the police right away, and file a police report. Calling the authorities immediately can help catch the fleeing driver. Also obtain a copy of the written police report, as this could be important evidence in your claim.
- Don’t chase after the driver. They could be dangerous, and your actions could undermine the severity of your injuries. Never restart your car to try to go after the fleeing vehicle, as damage to your car could make it unsafe to operate.
- Don’t overshare with the insurance company. When informing them of your accident, stick only to the facts. Don’t make any assessments about your injury or make speculations about the other driver. Remember that things you say to the insurer could be used to devalue your injury claim later on.
- Do contact a lawyer. Even if the guilty driver is currently at large, or even if you’re not thinking about suing right now, you should at least consult with an experienced attorney. Their advice can guide you to your best legal options after the accident, and help you pursue a successful compensation claim.
Call The Grossman Law Firm
Our attorneys at the Grossman Law Firm are highly experienced in maximizing compensation for injured individuals. Your hit-and-run injury case may seem difficult, but we can skillfully strategize with you and tenaciously advocate for the maximum amount you can claim. Your consultation with us is free. Call us at (732) 625-9494 today.