New Jersey Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
In 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,376 pedestrians were killed and 70,000 injured, up from 4,884 in 2014. In fact, 15 percent of all traffic deaths and three percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians. In 2015, 818 pedal-cyclists were killed in vehicle crashes. Furthermore, according to the New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, 2016 saw 84 fatal pedestrian hit and run accidents. However, hit and run accidents may also involve bicyclists and other cyclists.
Fatal hit and run crashes have been on the rise since 2009, according to an analysis of NHTSA data. In 2009, there were 1,274 fatal hit and run crashes, 1,393 in 2010 and 1,449 in 2011. Approximately one in five pedestrian fatalities were due to hit and run drivers, and 60 percent of all hit and run deaths were pedestrians.
Statistics indicate that hit and run accidents are on the rise. In fact, one in ten collisions involve at least one driver who chooses to flee the scene of the accident without offering their insurance information. Drivers who flee face criminal and civil charges, and a possible misdemeanor or felony conviction based on the injuries involved. Where does that leave you? How can you recover compensation to help pay for your missed time from work plus medical bills?
Hit and run accident lawsuits are not like typical car accident claims. They need a different level of investigation to attempt to identify the other driver. If that is not possible, there is always the option to file a claim with your own insurance company. These types of investigations need to be done quickly to preserve evidence.
In New Jersey, there are two ways to obtain compensation after a hit and run accident. The first way is to be able to identify the negligent driver. There are a number of ways to accomplish that:
- Provide police/attorney with other driver’s license plate number
- Find out if someone else saw the other driver and recalls their license plate number
- Have the attorney seek statements from eyewitnesses at the scene to help identify the other vehicle
- Check the surrounding area for camera footage such as, traffic cams, cellphone cameras, security cams or the dash cams of other drivers
The second way to obtain compensation after a hit and run accident where the driver cannot be identified is to file an uninsured motorist claim under your own vehicle insurance policy. In situations such as this, your insurance carrier must compensate you for covered losses. However, many times they do not do so without putting up a fight to reduce or deny a claim.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident you need to be extremely cautious about dealing with insurance adjusters directly. This task should be left up to your attorney to speak on your behalf. You can and should report the accident to your insurance carrier, but do not provide a recorded statement or comment on anything about the accident, particularly in relation to what you may think caused the accident without speaking to an attorney. Any and all statements you make to an insurance adjuster can come back on you later and directly affect your claim.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, you need to speak to a competent and knowledgeable New Jersey hit and run accident attorney at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm.