Hit-and-Run Accidents – What Can You Do?
It’s illegal for drivers to leave the scene of an accident, but unfortunately, accidents with uninsured drivers and other illicit drivers. A Toledo hit and run lawyer can help victims gain justice and compensation.
Even though Ohio drivers are legally required to stop after a traffic accident and provide information (and aid if there are injuries) to the other driver, many still flee the scene because they fear the consequences they could face – criminal and civil – that include:
- Previous DUI or drunk driving charges if they were intoxicated;
- A suspended or revoked driver’s license;
- Prior convictions or a criminal record; and
- Driving an uninsured vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), though fatal traffic accidents have decreased since 2011 by 4.5 percent, hit-and-run fatalities have risen by almost 14 percent. It also noted that the majority of hit-and-run fatalities involve pedestrians (one in five) and bicyclists. Harm can include traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, damaged internal organs, limb fractures, and amputations. Victims often experience long, painful, costly recoveries that involve surgeries, extended hospital stays, lengthy rehabilitation, and permanent disability.
The Toledo hit-and-run lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault work with local law enforcement to investigate the circumstances of the accidents that injure our client-victims, it is rare for hit-and-run drivers to be caught unless someone gets the license number of the driver’s vehicle or the accident was recorded on video.
In Ohio, hit-and-run drivers are legally viewed as uninsured drivers. So unless the suspect is caught and tried in criminal court, compensation for injuries will come through a claim made with your own insurance carrier.
Accident Claims Involving Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists in Ohio
When you or a family member are seriously injured in a motor vehicle or hit-and-run accident in Ohio and discover that the at-fault driver does not have the state-mandated minimum automobile liability insurance; it can because for grave concern. But you do have options after an accident with an uninsured driver. Insurance companies provide uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and underinsured motorist (UIM) so you can you be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other losses, including wrongful death. So if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits and injures you, your insurance company would pay all damages up to the limits of your UM/UIM policy limits. But history tells us that just because you have purchased this special coverage, the process of receiving full compensation can be challenging.
All too often, insurance companies try to dispute a claim or pay less than the full value of the policy. It’s not surprising, considering that they are in the business of taking in as much as possible in premiums and paying out as little as they can in claims. It’s how they make a profit. And though the majority of these firms are those that provide only “minimum coverage,” the well-known carriers are not above the same practices of delaying compensation or offering less money than victims are entitled to. More common methods include:
- Placing the blame for the accident on you;
- Disputing the value of your damages;
- “Dragging their feet” by asking you (and your doctor) to provide needless paperwork;
- Offering “lowball” settlements that cannot pay the value of your losses; and
- Using adjusters who claim to be working for you, but all the while they are collecting information that could later be used to justify their denial or devaluation of your claim.
Hit-and-run accident victims or those hit by uninsured/underinsured drivers should think twice before dealing with any insurance company that disputes legitimate injury claims. The Toledo hit-and-run lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault continue to protect the welfare of injured drivers and their families throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan and have done so for more than 60 years. Contact us for a free consultation if you have been injured by a hit-and-run/uninsured driver at 419-843-6663 or fill out our online contact form.