What makes Boston hit and run accidents unique is that the person who causes the accident often cannot be identified. This makes recovering fair compensation for injuries and property damage much more complicated for victims. If victims cannot identify the car responsible, any insurance claims may have to be filed against their own companies.
If you are unsure where to turn after a hit and run accident, consider speaking with a seasoned car accident lawyer. They could identity all the compensation you are entitled to and fight to preserve your rights.
Common Factors in Hit and Run Cases
If there is a hit and run accident, it could very well be that the vehicle which caused the accident was stolen. If that is the case, then regardless of whether the police locate and identify the driver of the vehicle, the insurance policy for the stolen vehicle will most likely not be responsible for paying any personal injury claim. The injured person will be left with a claim for uninsured motorist benefits to the wrong insurance policy.
A hit and run accident might also involve an intoxicated driver or a driver who is impaired from illicit drugs. The at-fault driver could have fled the scene because he or she was afraid of being arrested for drunk driving. That is a common factor in hit and run accident cases.
If the careless driver who caused the hit and run accident cannot be found, then the injured party will have to file a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. This is commonly referred to as a U-Claim. One important difference between a U-Claim and a regular bodily injury claim is how it is resolved if the injured claimant does not accept the insurance company’s final settlement offer. In a regular bodily injury claim case, you would file a lawsuit. However, in a U-Claim case, you cannot file a lawsuit pursuant to the Massachusetts auto policy provisions covering U-Claims.
Arbitration in Boston
If the injured claimant rejects the insurer’s final settlement offer, then the claim must be submitted to arbitration. In many cases, the claimant’s attorney and insurance company will agree to appoint an arbitrator. In some cases, the arbitration may be conducted by a panel of three arbitrators. Sometimes the claimant’s attorney will select one arbitrator, the insurer will select a second arbitrator, and those two will select the third.
Arbitrations are conducted by the rules of the particular alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) firm for the arbitrator who has been selected. The claimant and insurer agree to those ADR rules when they select that arbitrator. In other cases, there are arbitration rules adopted by most states commonly referred to as the Uniform Arbitration Act. In Massachusetts, the Uniform Arbitration Act is set forth in Mass. Gen. L. Ch. 251.
Role of the Arbitrator
Unlike a Judge in a personal injury jury trial, the arbitrator is both judge and jury who decides legal issues and factual issues. For example, the arbitrator acts as a judge by issuing evidentiary rulings, sustaining or overruling objections during witness testimony, and allowing or denying the admissibility of evidence. On the other hand, the arbitrator acts as a jury or fact finder by deciding which witness is credible, what weight to give to certain testimony or evidence, and ultimately deciding which party was negligent. They decide what damages, if any, were sustained, and how much compensation should be awarded to the injured claimant.
Consult with a Hit and Run Accident Attorney
An experienced car accident attorney understands what makes Boston hit and run accidents unique. They could work to identify the responsible parties and the correct avenues to pursue compensation. A dedicated lawyer could also serve as your advocate during arbitration. Call today to discuss your situation.