Boston Attorney for Victims of a Hit and Run Accident
Sometimes, the at-fault driver who caused your car accident in Boston does not stop and instead flees the scene of the accident. This is called a hit and run. Hit and runs are a serious violation of both Massachusetts law and the reasonable care owed between drivers. While recovery may be more difficult if the culprit is not identified, you deserve to know every option at your disposal.
Hit and runs happen far too frequently in Boston. Often, the fleeing driver may be uninsured, intoxicated, or simply in a panic about dealing with the consequences of an accident. If you are involved in a hit and run, try to take pictures or video of the fleeing vehicle and call 911 immediately. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible. Filing a lawsuit could return you compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Hit and run victims with a competent lawyer by their side are substantially more likely to see these damages.
Victims of hit and run accidents are often unsure how to pursue the compensation and benefits they need. In these situations, a Boston hit and run accident lawyer could help. A dedicated Boston car accident attorney for hit and run accidents can conduct an independent investigation and determine where compensation is available. Call today at (617) 410-5364.
Boston Hit and Run Laws
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has criminalized the act known as a hit and run. Under Massachusetts General Law Part I, Title XIV, Chapter 90, Section 24, a driver has committed a hit and run crime if they knowingly get into an accident that causes injury or property damage and leaves without stopping or providing the other parties with their name, address, and vehicle registration number.
This applies to situations where the accident involves a car that is parked without a driver. In this situation, the driver is legally obligated to make reasonable efforts to locate the owner of the damaged vehicle. If they cannot find the owner, the driver must leave a note with the car. The note must provide information about the accident as well as the driver’s name, contact, and insurance information.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Boston
If you were hit by another car and the driver left the scene, there are a few steps that you can take that can help you down the line. Some of them may seem intuitive, but it can be difficult to think straight in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Bearing the following tips in mind can make the difference in your ultimate recovery.
Almost everyone has immediate access to a camera through their smartphone these days. If the other driver has decided to leave the scene of the accident, we strongly urge that you attempt to take pictures of the driver and vehicle rather than rely on your own memory. Attempt to capture images of the driver, vehicle, and most importantly, the license plate.
Call the Authorities
Hit and run victims should call 911 as soon as possible. Inform the dispatcher of your location and that you were involved in a hit and run. The dispatcher will relay the description of the other driver and vehicle to police units nearby who can canvas the area and attempt to apprehend the other driver. A unit will also come to the scene to assess the damages and write up an accident report, which can be critical for your later recovery.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health should obviously be your first priority. Even if you do not believe that you have been injured in the accident, you should still visit your nearest emergency room as soon as possible. Certain conditions caused by the force of a car accident, such as brain injuries and whiplash, may not be immediately apparent but can worsen if left untreated. You can only improve your recovery by establishing a clear record of the consequences to your health.
Uninsured Motorist Benefits in Boston Hit and Run Accidents
If the hit and run car can be identified, then there is a possibility of being able to contact their insurance company to make the claim. If the hit and run car fled the scene and is not able to be identified, then the victim of the hit and run driver would be able to bring a claim to their insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits.
It is important to note that in Massachusetts auto insurance policies, there is usually a requirement that victims notify their insurance companies of a hit and run accident within 24 hours of the accident. If for some reason they are incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so, they should notify the insurance companies as soon as they are able or have someone else do so, such as a family member.
Common Causes of Hit and Run Accidents in Boston
Hit and run accidents in Boston often times involve the negligent driver failing to stop at a traffic signal at a red light. Someone runs the red light, hits another car, and just keeps going. It could also involve turning on to the main street and failing to yield to oncoming traffic, hitting a car, and then again trying to flee the scene. It could also involve things such as distracted driving or texting that prevents the driver from paying attention to other cars.
A driver may choose to flee the scene of the accident for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the driver may not have the adequate insurance requirements to be driving in Massachusetts. Others may have had their license suspended or revoked at the time. Drivers who are inebriated or have an outstanding arrest warrant may flee to avoid a visit from the police at the scene of the accident.
Sometimes, however, the cause of a hit and run could have nothing to do with any illegalities. Drivers who are in accidents, particularly those who are inexperienced or driving a car that does not belong to them, can sometimes panic and act erratically. The at-fault driver could be fully insured or otherwise able to pay for damages and still decide to leave the scene of the accident. The best way to ensure that you are compensated for your harms is to follow the tips for dealing with a hit and run above and to call a Boston hit and run accident lawyer as soon as possible.
How a Boston Hit and Run Accident Attorney Could Help
A Boston attorney could help with hit and run accident claims by first notifying all insurance companies to ensure and confirm that the policies were in effect at the time of the hit and run accident and to determine the amounts of available coverage. In Boston and throughout Massachusetts, by statute, upon receipt of a request in writing for disclosure and written confirmation of the available insurance coverage, the insurance companies have to provide this information in writing. By doing this, the attorney can help determine what available coverage is there to compensate the person injured as a result of the hit and run accident claim.
Next, an attorney could identify potential witnesses who saw the accident, identify exactly how the accident happened, and describe the severity of the accident. A witness might have photographs on their smartphone of the accident or the vehicle following the accident that would demonstrate the position of the vehicles. With this information, an attorney could try to put together how the accident happened. This would demonstrate the impact and the severity of the damage caused to the vehicle as a result of the hit and run accident. The attorney could help avoid unpaid medical bills going to collections and possibly causing problems with the injured party’s credit.
Recoverable Damages for Hit and Run Victims in Boston
In a hit and run case, a person can recover both economic and non-economic damages, also referred to as special damages and general damages. Economic or special damages are those that can be added up and quantified such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, or personal items that were damaged inside the vehicle. Those can be identified and quantified.
Non-economic or general damages are things such as pain and suffering, scars, or disfigurement that the person sustained as a result of his or her injuries. Loss of enjoyment of life is another damage. This can include hobbies, sports, or social activities that a person engaged in before the accident but cannot due to the injuries. These damages cannot be quantified, so it is up to a jury to decide if they are part of the person’s damages and their value.
Boston Statute of Limitations for Hit and Run Injury Lawsuits
In Massachusetts, you only have three years from the date of the injury to file your civil lawsuit to recover the damages that you are owed. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may not be able to recover at all.
There are rarely exceptions to this rule. However, there may be one that may apply in hit-and-run cases. If the at-fault driver leaves the state, the clock on the statute of limitations will pause for as long as they are out of state. Meeting this and other exceptions is a complicated endeavor, so speak to your Boston hit and run accident lawyer to avoid missing this critical deadline.
Reach Out to a Boston Hit and Run Accident Attorney Today for Help
If you were injured in a hit and run accident, you should consult with a skilled Boston personal injury attorney who specializes in hit and runs. A Boston hit and run accident lawyer could fully explain your legal options and how to pursue compensation for your injuries. Reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.