Hit-and-run crashes cause a variety of problems that you may not experience when you know the identity of the driver who hit you. These types of accidents increased in 2020, with more than a 25% rise in fatalities for drivers, passengers and pedestrians from the previous year.
While missing data can make a hit-and-run accident in Massachusetts more stressful than a typical crash, hiring an attorney to assist you may help you recover the losses you may experience, such as lost wages and the physical damage to your vehicle. When your car insurance company reaches its limits concerning how it can help you recover, hiring an attorney can provide you with the peace of mind you need to recover from this traumatic event.
Why Drivers Flee the Scene of an Accident
Few circumstances excuse fleeing the scene of an accident, no matter the cause. However, a driver may do so for several reasons, including:
- Lack of a valid driver’s license
- Having unpaid moving violation citations
- Arrest warrants
A driver may also flee the scene to avoid punishment from the authorities, although in most cases, he or she may actually face stiffer penalties once identified. This includes considerable fines and possible jail time, depending on the severity of the injuries the driver caused before fleeing. Most drivers who leave the scene may believe they can elude the authorities for an unlimited amount of time and would rather do so instead of facing the consequences of causing an accident.
Understanding Massachusetts Insurance Laws
New England carries a number of compulsory laws regarding the type of insurance required for anyone who operates a motor vehicle. The law states you cannot legally register a vehicle in Massachusetts until you can show proof that you satisfied proof of coverage for a variety of circumstances, including:
- Property damage to another’s vehicle
- Bodily Injury for uninsured motorists
- Personal Injury Protection
- Bodily Injury for passengers in your vehicle
These types of insurance work to protect you in case of hit-and-run accidents or if an uninsured motorist causes your accident. Massachusetts is a no-fault insurance state, which is why you require PIP insurance, as the coverage protects you up to the amount of your policy should an accident occur. However, if your hit-and-run accident was so severe that PIP insurance funds do not cover all the costs of your medical bills and property damage, then consulting a lawyer may be an effective next step.
The Benefits of Hiring a Hit-and-Run Attorney
After the accident, you may feel that you have little recourse to recover from a legal standpoint because you do not know the identity of the other driver. However, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the case and treat it as a personal injury case, which provides you with many benefits.
An attorney can keep in touch with the police who processed your accident scene and inquire about updates that may lend proof to your case as the authorities search for the driver who fled the scene. These may vary but usually include:
- The discovery of paint flakes on your vehicle
- Skid marks at the scene which indicate sudden braking or speeding
- Whether alcohol or drug abuse may play a part
Missing information can make your personal injury case more difficult to build, but an attorney can work closely with the police and use their reports to collect important information that may assist you when authorities identify the other driver.
Speaking To Witnesses
Eyewitness accounts can cement proof that the hit-and-run accident occurred the way you describe it and even add important details to your case. As the plaintiff, you, along with your attorney, carry the burden of proof, and witnesses can help you satisfy that duty. They can verify the date, time and location of the hit-and-run and identify details about the vehicle that fled the scene.
Your attorney may ask you for a copy of the police report, as this is the document that would likely list the names and contact information of anyone who saw the accident as it occurred.
Prevent Legal Errors
Finding an attorney to represent you after a hit-and-run incident can help you avoid legal mistakes that may cost you later. Your legal counsel may advise you on a variety of circumstances, including:
- Handling social media
- Speaking to family and friends about the crash
- Admitting any type of guilt regarding the crash
The more you know how to discuss your accident and when to stay quiet can strengthen your personal injury case once authorities locate the responsible party. Generally, staying quiet about the nature of your injuries and how the crash happened is the wisest course of action so you do not accidentally incriminate yourself.
Another benefit of allowing an attorney to speak on your behalf is to avoid mosquitoes and twisted words that might seriously compromise your case. Personal injury attorneys usually have experience with speaking to the press or other entities involved with your case and can protect your credibility. This may also help you focus more on healing from your injuries and less time wasted on how anything you say might come back to haunt you in court.
Tracking and Gathering Documents
When a hit-and-run accident affects your mobility or keeps you in the hospital, gathering important documents may seem impossible. Medication may affect your memory and a lack of mobility resulting from the accident could prevent you from gathering the documents you need, such as updated police reports and medical bills. Hiring an attorney can take this burden off your shoulders and provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing a capable attorney is handling all the important paperwork.
When it comes to crucial documents, filing your case on time can have a serious effect on the outcome. Massachusetts law requires that you have up to three years from the date of the accident to file, which can provide you with some breathing room if the authorities do not find the other driver right away. However, filing a case as soon as possible can ensure that you have all your important paperwork and other information at hand when your attorney lets you know the case can proceed.
Advisement Regarding Future Insurance Offers
Witness accounts and continued police work may result in the discovery of the individual who fled the scene, and as a result, his or her insurance company may contact you with a settlement offer to avoid going to court. Having a lawyer in your corner can help you field offers and decide the fairness of each. Your attorney can also represent you completely in this capacity as well, speaking to insurance company representatives and protecting your best interests.
Let Jason Stone Injury Lawyers Help
The attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers understand the type of chaos a hit-and-run accident can cause. Painful injuries, missed work and the inability to take care of the needs of your family can cause you constant stress and worry. Our lawyers will review your case and since we do not get paid unless you win your case, you can use our services without the fear of added debt. That is the Stone Cold Guarantee, which offers you peace of mind during this time of turmoil. Contact our office today for more information and let us help you resolve your hit-and-run accident.