Chicago Hit and Run Car Accident Lawyer
Chicago hit-and-run car accidents involve a negligent driver hitting another motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian and leaving the accident scene resulting in severe injury or death. Not only did the driver cause damage and injury to others, but they also left the victims without taking any responsibility for their actions.
Fortunately, many Chicago hit-and-run driver cases involving bodily injury are compensable when a claim is filed with the injured party's own insurance company (referred to as an uninsured motorist claim or UM claim).
The experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC regularly file claims on behalf of people injured in Chicago area hit-and-run accidents and can address any questions you may have regarding your legal options following an incident with a fleeing motorist.
The information below will give you a rundown of the Illinois law related to these cases and how your situation may play out.
Are you seeking the assistance of an experienced Chicago car accident attorney to represent you or a loved one? Speak with a Chicago car accidents lawyer today during a free case evaluation.
Our hit-and-run accident attorneys currently represent clients throughout Illinois and the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Naperville, and Schaumburg.
Illinois Law On Chicago Hit-And-Run Accidents
Although leaving the scene of an injury auto accident is against the law, it happens every day. According to data from the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, 11% of all car crashes involve hit-and-run drivers.
In Illinois, the law clearly shows that no driver involved in a hit and run crash should ever leave when an injury has occurred (they may also face jail time if located). Illinois hit and run law states :
(625 ILCS 5/11-401)(from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-401)
"Sec. 11-401. Motor vehicle accidents involving death or personal injuries. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the car accident until the requirements of Section 11-403 have been fulfilled. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary."
Pedestrians & Bicyclists Injured In Hit-and-Run Crashes
Pedestrians and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to hit-and-run accidents. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, in 2017, almost 800 pedestrians were killed by car accidents where the hit and run driver left the scene.
Thousands more were injured in a hit and run accident where the driver was never found. It is a heinous crime to injure and possibly take another's life and flee without even stopping to help them.
However, even if the at-fault car accident driver is never found, pedestrians and bicyclists can still often pursue a case for financial compensation through their family auto insurance if they have uninsured motorist coverage.
Similarly, some hit-run accident drivers responsible for damages do not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate an injured person. In these cases, a claim may be presented against the injured party's insurance company in the form of an under-insured motorist claim (UIM).
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Applicable to Hit & Run Cases in Chicago
Sometimes, the hit and run driver responsible for a car accident is never found by law enforcement. In these cases, all hope for financial compensation for personal injuries is not lost for the victims.
Uninsured motorist coverage under their own auto policy can pay for the damages to their vehicle and their personal injuries.
Many people do not realize that their auto insurance might cover them even if they were not hit and run accidents. Insurance companies will pay an uninsured motorist claim for the injured parties: medical bills, lost wages, medical attention, physical therapy, medical expenses, property damage, and even pain and suffering.
Many of the cases handled by our Chicago IL hit and run accident lawyers involved victims of drunk driving hit and run accidents where the person at fault left the scene of an accident. These victims often suffer spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, severed limbs (amputation), and temporary/permanent disabilities.
Victims of Chicago hit and run accidents need the help of an experienced Illinois auto hit and run accident lawyer who can assist them get the best settlement from their insurance company. As in most insurance claims, the insurance company will only pay the bare minimum and often offer a quick settlement to resolve the issue.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can make an enormous difference in the amount of financial compensation you receive because the law firm will:
- Get a copy of the police report
- Investigate the scene of the accident
- Review the victim's insurance policy to identify the uninsured motorist coverage
- Speak to eyewitnesses
- Build a case for compensation
I Have Been Involved in a Hit-And-Run Accident – What Should I Do?
Were you involved in a hit-and-run accident where the other driver left the scene of the accident? If so, what you do next in your case could help your health and financial well-being.
Make sure that you and your occupants are okay. Identify any injuries and call 911 to report the hit and run car accident and ask for medical assistance through first responders. If anyone is severely injured, keep them still inside the vehicle until help arrives, unless there is a fear of a fire or other hazardous situation.
If you can safely do so, get out of the vehicle and move yourself and all occupants to a safe environment along the side of the road. While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, stay far away from oncoming traffic.
If the hit-and-run accident involved any other vehicle, obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers, and driver's license numbers of all other motorists involved. Record the other vehicles' license plate number is all insurance coverage information.
Other things you could do might include:
- Capture photographic evidence of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and other property damage
- Photograph all your injuries and the injuries of others if possible
- Gather complete contact information from eyewitnesses, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
- Seek immediate medical attention even if you believe you are not harmed. The high levels of adrenaline in your bloodstream immediately after the accident can mask any injuries until a competent medical professional diagnoses your condition
- Avoid talking to insurance adjusters until you first consult a hit-and-run accident lawyer to discuss your legal options
Recovering Damages for a Hit-And-Run Accident
Determining the cause of a hit-and-run accident might be challenging at first fought, especially if there are no eyewitness accounts.
Was the other driver who fled the accident scene responsible for causing the crash, or were you a passenger or pedestrian in a single-vehicle accident? You may be entitled to receive financial compensation.
A hit and run accident lawyer can help you file a compensation claim and negotiate with the driver's insurance company. Your accident lawyer can deal directly with the insurance company to avoid settling for the lowest compensation possible.
Not receiving adequate funds could cause undue stress when you have insufficient funds to pay future medical expenses, hospital bills, lost wages and lost future earnings. Your lawyer can ensure that you receive compensation for non-tangible damages, including mental anxiety, emotional distress, pain, and suffering associated with the car crash.
Your lawyer may determine through investigation that other factors, including vehicle defects and hazardous road conditions, might have contributed to the accident. Learn how you can be compensated even if the other driver is never found.
Receiving Maximum Financial Recovery
The process of filing a claim and receiving benefits is often challenging, especially without using an attorney specializing in hit-and-run cases.
An attorney working on you or your loved one's behalf will ensure adequate funds are obtained to cover medical bills, hospitalization costs, and lost wages. Our team of attorneys will review your legal situation, documents, police reports, and insurance policies to build a case for appropriate coverage based on maximum compensation.
Hit-and-run cases can be handled like an underinsured/uninsured motorist case where your liability policy protects you in passengers in the event of an uninsured motorist/fleeing driver in a case that does not have liability coverage.
Contact a hit-and-run accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 now to schedule a free consultation.
Our legal team fully finances the cost of litigation until the case has been resolved. We never get paid until we have obtained a favorable negotiated settlement or jury trial verdict to resolve your case. Our lawyers only work to ensure your best interest.
Hit and Run Car Accident FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions related to hit and run automobile accidents. We realize that these questions are only the beginning.
Consequently, we invite you to contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
What Happens If You Caused a Hit and Run Accident?
If police investigators identified you as the driver who left the scene of a hit-and-run accident, you likely would be charged with a misdemeanor if the crash only caused property damage. However, if the accident caused a severe injury or wrongful death, you will likely be charged with a felony.
Most felony hit-and-run convictions result in a sentence of two to four years in the state prison. The court may also impose a monetary fine of $10,000 or more, plus restitution to the seriously injured victim or the victim’s surviving family members.
Some victims injured in a hit-and-run auto accident die due to their injuries. In these cases, the surviving family members could hold you financially accountable as the at-fault driver who caused the accident.
Survivors could seek compensation to cover medical bills, hospitalization costs, funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, pain, and suffering.
Will My Insurance Cover Me If I Hit-And-Run?
Did you choose to leave the scene of an accident that you caused? If so, your automobile liability coverage will not provide coverage for car repairs or your medical expenses. However, the liability portion of your liability coverage will pay for any of the victim’s expenses, including medical bills and wrongful death claims involving funeral and burial expenses.
Your insurance carrier will likely deny any claim you make against your policy involving a hit-and-run auto accident that you caused.
What Is the Difference between Leaving the Scene and a Hit and Run Accident?
Hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident are two different traffic violations. The law indicates that a hit-and-run accident typically involves victims injured or killed like another motorist, passenger, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
Alternatively, leaving the scene of an accident is usually a misdemeanor or possible felony if the accident you caused involved only property damage.
What Should I Do If I Hit an Unattended Car?
The first step is not to panic that you hit an unattended vehicle. Next, stay at the accident scene and leave a note on the victim’s vehicle indicating that you reported the incident to the police. Next, report the incident to the police.
Before leaving, capture video and photographic evidence of all vehicles involved and speak to any eyewitnesses who saw what happened. Finally, call your insurance carrier to say what happened or consult an attorney to work on your behalf.
Who Is at Fault for a Car Accident in a Parking Lot?
Any motorist backing out or pulling forward from a parking spot is legally obliged to yield the right-of-way to all existing traffic. All motorists must obey posted speed limits and remain alert.
Typically, a police officer or investigator will gather evidence to conclude which party is at fault for causing the car accident that might result in a criminal charge or civil action. The at-fault driver may face criminal charges even if they hadn't caused an accident.
Why Does a Hit-And-Run Driver Flee?
Sometimes, a motorist will drive away from a hit-and-run accident because of the legal repercussions they may face if driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Others may leave the scene because they caused the hit and run accident due to distracted driving, texting while driving, or speaking on their cell phone.
Some studies show that hit-and-run drivers rationalize leaving the accident scene because they did not think the damages or injuries were severe. Any driver who caused the accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities and leaves the scene could be held criminally responsible.
Chicago Hit-and-Run Auto Accident Attorneys
The car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are experienced in both Illinois and local laws and regulations regarding hit-and-run accidents involving serious injury or even death.
If the hit and run driver is found or if you have uninsured motorist protection, we will use our knowledge to obtain the maximum financial outcome in your case.
Our hit-and-run accident lawyers invite you to contact us at (888) 424-5757 or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. As with all of our motor vehicle accident cases, there is no fee for our services unless we secure a financial award for you.
All discussions with our Chicago personal injury lawyers remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Our auto accident attorneys also represent family members who lost a loved one through a wrongful death car crash.