Hit and run is a crime that occurs when a vehicle causes a collision with another vehicle and then fails to stop or render assistance. Most jurisdictions treat hit and run as a supplemental crime. The offense carries significant penalties, including the cost of filing a lawsuit. In some jurisdictions, punitive damages can be awarded as well as other compensation.
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Punitive damages for hit-and-run accidents are a special type of compensation that is available when another motorist causes serious harm. These damages are designed to give victims of wrongful death or serious injury justice. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages for hit-and-run accidents do not require the defendant to be guilty of a criminal offense.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the offender financially and to deter future bad behavior. These damages can also be referred to as exemplary damages. For example, a drunk driver on his second DUI blows over the legal limit and strikes a pedestrian in a residential area.
If you were in a car accident, failure to render assistance may be a felony charge. While it may seem like a good Samaritan act, the charge is serious. If you are charged with this crime, you should seek the counsel of a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Failure to render assistance is a separate charge from failing to stop at the scene of the accident. It requires that you return to the scene and remove your car within a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement officers may ask you to do so.
A hit-and-run report is essential to establishing fault and proving liability in a civil suit. If the police respond within 24 hours, they can interview witnesses and investigate the scene, gaining access to security cameras. This may help build a strong case for damages. If the victim of a hit-and-run accident is unable to contact the police at the scene, they can call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.
In many states, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without filing a police report. This is an illegal act and is punishable by a fine or even jail time. The law requires the driver to file a police report within 48 hours of the accident. If the driver files a report too late, it may be considered a confession, which can be used against them in a criminal case.
A lawsuit will cost you money, and you will need to pay the attorney for his or her services. These costs will range from about 25 percent to 40 percent of the total award. Some attorneys will charge less than this, but it is still important to be aware of the costs. In addition to attorney’s fees, you will need to pay for medical bills, police reports, and other documents. The attorney may also have to run a criminal background check on the defendant’s past claims history. You may also have to pay for certified mail to deliver your documents to the court, as well as for copying charges.