Hit-and-run accidents are especially traumatic for drivers because they are often left on the road without help. If you were injured in a hit-and-run, our legal team can help you get justice and compensation.
The first thing you need to do after a hit and run is called for help. Once help arrives, your top priority should be getting emergency medical attention. Next, you should contact an attorney to help you with an insurance claim and a potential lawsuit. New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, so you do not necessarily need the other driver’s information to file an insurance claim. However, you will need to track down the other driver to sue them in a personal injury lawsuit. Once the police identify the other driver, you might have to wait until they are criminally prosecuted before you can sue them civilly.
A hit-and-run collision can be devastating, and the driver that hit you should be held accountable. Call our New Jersey car accident lawyers at Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 to schedule a free case evaluation.
What to Do After a Hit and Run in New Jersey
After a hit-and-run collision, you must call for help immediately. The problem with hit-and-run accidents is that the other driver flees the scene without stopping, and injured drivers are left to call for help on their own. This might be difficult if you are badly injured or cannot reach your phone.
Once you call for help, your next priority should be getting to a hospital as fast as possible. In severe cases, injured drivers are rushed to the hospital before they can even speak to the police. However, if your injuries are less serious, you might be able to talk with law enforcement before emergency medical personnel arrive.
At some point, you should speak to the police about what happened. In most cases, the police will follow you to the hospital so they can get as many details about the crash as possible. Remember to be as specific as possible because your statements might be crucial in the subsequent criminal investigation of the other driver.
After speaking with the police, you should call an attorney as soon as possible. You might need help paying for your considerable medical expenses and covering other damages. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help you with your insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the other driver when they are identified.
Filing an Insurance Claim After a Hit and Run in New Jersey
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. Under a no-fault system, injured drivers do not file third-party claims against other drivers’ insurance policies (not at first, anyway). Instead, drivers file claims with their own insurance. All drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that covers them in case of an accident with no need to prove fault. This means that you do not necessarily need the other driver’s information to file a claim.
When filing your insurance claim, even though we do not have to prove fault, we need some proof that the accident really happened. Insurance companies often require a police report. PIP insurance often covers certain economic damages, such as medical bills.
Unfortunately, non-economic damages like pain and suffering might not be covered, and we might need to file a lawsuit to recover those losses. Additionally, your PIP insurance might not be enough to cover all your medical bills if your injuries are severe, but a lawsuit might help you fill in the gaps and get all your expenses paid for.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Hit and Run in New Jersey
Before filing a lawsuit, you must discuss your insurance policy with our Paterson car accident lawyers. In New Jersey, because the state follows a no-fault insurance policy system, drivers might have to jump through a few extra hoops before being able to file a lawsuit.
When you purchase an insurance policy, you might have a limited or unlimited right to sue. When selecting the standard policy, you must choose whether you have a limited or unlimited right to sue. An unlimited right to sue means the policy holder can sue another driver for any injury from a car accident. The limited policy restricts the policy holder’s right to sue for non-economic damages unless they sustained certain permanent injuries, including loss of body parts, significant disfigurement, a displaced fracture, or other permanent injuries. The unlimited right to sue tends to make your policy a bit more expensive.
Suppose your policy comes with a limited right to sue. In that case, our Newark car accident attorneys can help you prove that your experienced one of the permanent injuries that would allow you to sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Criminal Prosecution for a Hit and Run in New Jersey
A hit and run is a criminal offense under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-129(a). Under the law, a driver who commits a hit and run may be fined at least $2,500 and up to $5,000. They might also be imprisoned for 180 days. Hit and run drivers typically face additional criminal charges related to the injuries they caused in the accident. The police are often very keen to investigate hit-and-run accidents so the driver can be criminally prosecuted.
Typically, criminal prosecution of a hit-and-run driver takes precedence over civil lawsuits, so you might have to wait a while before you can sue the other driver for your injuries. However, we might rely on the police to investigate the incident and hopefully identify the other driver; otherwise, we cannot sue them. Not only that, but the results of the criminal case can be used in your civil lawsuit. If the jury reaches a guilty verdict or the defendant pleads guilty, our Elizabeth car accident lawyers can use this information to our advantage in your personal injury case.
Call Our New Jersey Car Accident Attorneys for Help Now
Victims of hit-and-run accidents are sometimes confused, badly hurt, and unsure what to do next. Our Lakewood personal injury lawyers can help you get justice and compensation. For a free case assessment, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.