Hit and run accidents are unfortunately common in Bethlehem and elsewhere throughout the state, and when they do occur, they often lead to severe injury or even death.  A study conducted by the AAA Foundation discovered that about 11 percent of all police-reported accidents involve at least one hit and run driver.  Nearly 1500 people are fatally injured every year in hit and run accidents, with pedestrians making up roughly 60 percent of the fatally injured victims.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, you may feel overwhelmed by certain difficulties commonly associated with litigating a hit-and-run claim.  Let’s briefly consider the basic issues that victims encounter in a hit-and-run accident situation.

The driver is Uninsured or Underinsured

There are many different reasons as to why drivers flee the scene of an accident, whether the accident involves pedestrians or other drivers: the hit and run defendant may have been intoxicated at the time, driving unlicensed (or with an expired license), or they may be concerned that they were driving so recklessly that they will be arrested by law enforcement officers.  In many cases, however, the hit and run driver flees the scene in Bethlehem because they simply want to avoid having to pay damages to victim(s) who may have suffered injuries, or because they lack adequate insurance to cover such damages.

If the hit and run driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can still recover by suing the defendant directly — but this may be fruitless if they lack the personal financial assets necessary to make you “whole” again.  Alternatively, you may be able to partially recover by asserting claims against other potentially liable defendants, such as the City responsible for designing and maintaining the roadway at-issue.

Generally speaking, however, the best way to avoid running into a dead-end if the hit and run defendant lacks insurance (or is underinsured) is to purchase and utilize uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).

Driver Fled Successfully

In some Bethlehem hit and run accidents, the driver manages to get away from the scene of the accident successfully, preserving their anonymity.  In these situations, your attorney will work with law enforcement, private parties (i.e., witnesses, property owners with video recordings of the area, etc.), and independent investigators to determine the identify of the hit and run driver.  Though it is not ideal, one must also accept the possibility that the hit and run driver may never be identified.

When the hit and run driver remains unidentified (and therefore cannot be sued), you can still obtain compensation by looking to your own insurance policy — specifically, your UM/UIM coverage.  To recover, you’ll have to prove that the hit and run driver was at-fault for your injuries, despite having no access to the driver.  Consultation with an experienced hit and run accident attorney is critical in this regard.  Your attorney will gather a variety of evidence, including but not limited to medical records, photographic evidence of the accident scene, expert testimony, and accident reconstruction evidence, in order to demonstrate that the injuries you suffered were caused by the hit and run driver.

Consult With a Bethlehem Hit and Run Lawyer Today

Hit and run accidents can result in serious, life-altering injuries.  If you have been injured in a pedestrian or motor vehicle hit and run accident, you may be entitled to damages — not only from the defendant-driver, but also, potentially, from other responsible parties including the possessor of property on which the accident actually took place.  Of course, fundamental to a hit and run accident is the issue of driver identification.  Your attorney will work with investigators, witnesses, and other relevant parties to help identify the driver and force them to participate in the impending lawsuit.

Successful litigation of a hit and run accident requires skillful execution at every stage of the process, from identifying the hit-and-run defendant to sending demand letters, to factual discovery, to mediation, and eventual trial litigation.  To schedule a free consultation with a Bethlehem hit and run accident lawyer today, call Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, at 888-777-7098.