The law in Arizona makes it clear that if you are involved in an accident resulting in an injury or death, you must stop, remain at the scene and fulfill a number of requirements, including providing your name, address and other information. You are also legally required to render reasonable assistance to anyone who is injured in the crash. Failure to stop as required could result in a felony charge. Unfortunately, people often flee the scene of an accident, ignoring not only the law, but also the people who have been injured in the crash.
A recent study estimates that there is at least one hit and run accident in the United States every minute, and around 5% of all auto deaths are caused by hit and run drivers.
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Why Do Drivers Fail to Stop After an Accident?
We define “hit and run” as an accident where the person at fault fails to stop at the scene. There are a number of reasons why people choose to run rather than face up to their legal and moral responsibilities after a car accident. They include:
- The driver knows that it was his or her fault – running a red light, speeding, or otherwise violating the rules of the road – and rather than face up to their responsibilities, they choose to run in an effort to escape liability.
- No Valid License. Some drivers choose to run because their license is suspended, or because they have no license at all. They attempt to hide their misdeeds to avoid suffering penalties because they are operating a vehicle illegally.
- Lack of Insurance. Failure to maintain insurance is not only against the law in Arizona, it exposes the driver to personal liability for any damage and injuries suffered in the accident.
- Impaired Driving. One of the more common reasons for hit and run accidents is that a driver knows he or she is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. Stopping will expose the driver to sanctions such as fines, loss of license, and perhaps even jail time. In an attempt to avoid these consequences, a driver may choose to flee and try to dodge a DUI charge.
- Outstanding Legal Issues. In some cases, a driver may be aware that there are outstanding warrants which will be discovered after the police arrive and learn his or her identity.
You may have heard or read stories about drivers who leave the scene of an accident and later claim they did not know they had struck another vehicle, person or object. While this story may be asserted often, the likelihood of being in a car crash or hitting a pedestrian, for example, and not being aware of it, is rather small, particularly when injuries are involved.
Who Pays for Damages in a Hit and Run Case?
There are many types of accidents, and many variations of hit and run cases. If you were injured by a hit and run driver, one of your initial concerns will be who is going to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. There is no single answer applicable to all cases. However, there are a number of possible sources of payments for damages suffered when you are the victim in a hit and run case. They include:
- The other driver. In many hit and run cases, the old saying “you can run but you can’t hide” applies. With the help of statements from witnesses and our investigation, hit and run drivers can be located. Since they are often at fault in these situations, they and their insurance company could be responsible for your losses.
- Your insurance company. In some cases, your own insurance company may be liable for all or a portion of your loss. We will examine your insurance policy to determine the level of your carrier’s responsibility.
- Workers’ compensation coverage. If you were involved in a hit and run accident while driving, and you were performing work for your employer at the time, workers’ compensation coverage many be available to cover medical bills, lost income and other damages
Depending upon the circumstances, there may also be additional parties who can be held liable for your injuries.
Hit and Run Crashes in Phoenix, AZ
It is important to recognize that simply because a driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident, it does not mean you have no recourse. With the right legal team behind you, all potential avenues of recovery will be explored.
The Kelly Law Team represents clients who have suffered injuries in all types of accidents, including hit and run crashes. John Kelly is an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to develop a case, investigate the facts, and provide you with the best chance of receiving the maximum amount of damages possible. Contact us for a free consultation.
Call the Kelly Law Team at 602-283-4122