Chicago Hit and Run Car Accident Lawyer
Hit and run accidents occur every day in the United States. In fact, approximately 11 percent of reported crashes involve at least one driver fleeing the scene of the accident. When drivers do not stop and get help after an accident, they put the lives of other motorists at risk and fail to take responsibility for their role in the crash. If you have been the victim in a hit and run accident, an experienced Chicago hit and run accident lawyer can help you.
Contact a Chicago car accident attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 to discuss your options. Our firm has recovered compensation for hit and run victims for years and can help you fight for the justice you deserve.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run occurs when a driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident in which they were involved. Under Illinois law, any driver involved in an accident resulting in property damage or bodily injury must remain at the scene of the accident to exchange information and receive help.
If you hit a parked or unattended vehicle, you must stop and attempt to locate the owner or driver of that vehicle. If the owner/driver cannot be located, you must leave written notice including your name, address, registration number, and the name of the owner of the vehicle.
Criminal Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents in Illinois
In Illinois, leaving the scene of an accident that causes property damage or personal injury is a crime. Hit and run charges are classified as follows:
- Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage only – This is a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of one year in county jail or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
- Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury or death – This is considered a Class 4 Felony, which is punishable by one to three years of imprisonment or a maximum fine of $25,000, or both.
- Failure to report an accident resulting in personal injury or death to law enforcement within 30 minutes – This is a Class 2 Felony, which is punishable by three to seven years of imprisonment or fines up to $25,000, or both.
Any person convicted of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage exceeding $1,000, injury, or death will have their driver’s license revoked by Illinois Secretary of State.
Hit and Run Statistics
Despite the fact that fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in every state, fatal hit and run crashes have been on the rise since 2009. Between 2009 and 2011, there was a 13.7 percent increase in fatal hit and run crashes across the country. On average, hit and runs result in 1500 deaths annually and seriously injure many more.
According to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit and run accidents most frequently occur at night between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. and on the weekends. It is particularly dangerous for drivers to flee the scene of an accident resulting in serious injuries because the majority of deaths in traffic accidents occur within the first hour after a crash.
Hit and Run Accidents Involving Pedestrians and Cyclists
Hit and run accidents disproportionately impact pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, approximately six in 10 of fatally injured hit and run victims are pedestrians and hit and run drivers are responsible for one in five pedestrian deaths.
Hit and run crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists are much more prevalent in major cities like Chicago. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, 41 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes and 22 percent of fatal bike accidents between 2005 and 2014 involved a hit and run driver.
Why Would a Driver Flee the Scene of an Accident?
Here are some of the most common reasons hit and run drivers do not stop after an accident:
- Driving without insurance
- Driving without or on a suspended driver’s licenses
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving
- Fear of criminal or civil penalties
What to Do If You are a Hit and Run Victim
Being involved in any kind of accident is traumatic and confusing, but this is particularly true for victims of hit and run crashes. Knowing what to do in the aftermath of a hit and run accident can help you remain calm and increase the likelihood of obtaining compensation for your injuries.
- Check for injuries and seek medical attention immediately, if necessary.
- Contact the police to report the accident.
- Speak to any nearby witnesses to obtain information about the hit and run driver or their vehicle. Identifying the driver gives you the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve for your losses.
- Report the accident to your insurer.
- Consult with an experienced Chicago hit and run accident lawyer to discuss your options and get help pursuing compensation through a hit and run accident insurance claim.
How Does Insurance Work in a Chicago Hit and Run Accident?
Hit and run insurance claims can be complicated. Victims of hit and run accidents may be wondering whether they will be able to file an insurance claim when the at-fault driver cannot be identified. If the identity of the other driver is unknown, you will obviously not be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Consequently, you will need to file a first-party hit and run claim with your own insurer.
Generally speaking, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover hit and run accidents as long as you did not cause the crash. If you caused the hit and run accident or you only maintain liability coverage, your insurance company will not cover your medical or property damage expenses.
If you have been left with a hit and run injury, a Chicago hit and run accident attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you navigate the insurance claim process and will fight to obtain the most favorable result possible in your case.
Call an Experienced Chicago Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
When it comes to hit and run car accidents, there is simply no substitute for knowledgeable and skilled legal counsel. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., a hit and run victim attorney will advocate on your behalf when negotiating with insurance adjusters and work to secure the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.