Chicago Hit & Run Car Accident Lawyer
Chicago hit-and-run car accidents, where the vehicle’s driver hits another motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, and leaves the accident scene, frequently result in serious injury or death. Not only did the driver cause damage and injury to others, but they also left the accident scene without taking any responsibility for their actions.
Fortunately, many Chicago hit-and-run cases involving bodily injury are compensable when a claim is filed with the injured party’s insurance company The injured victim can file an uninsured motorist claim or UM (under-insured) claim.
If you or a family member was injured in a Chicago hit and run accident, contact the auto accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for a free case review.
An Illinois Hit and Run Car Accident Injury Attorney can Help
The experienced Chicago auto accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC regularly file claims on behalf of people injured in Chicago area hit-and-run accidents. Our team can address any questions you might 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 might play out. If you seek a car accident lawyer’s assistance to represent you in these cases, we invite you to contact our law office at (888) 424-5757 for 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.
Hit and Run Car Accident FAQs
What Happens if You Hit and Run in a Car Accident?
If police investigators identified you as a hit-and-run driver who left the scene of an accident, you likely be charged with a misdemeanor if the crash only caused property damage. However, if the hit-and-run accident caused a severe injury or wrongful death, you will likely be charged with a felony and might be taken into custody.
Most felony hit-and-run convictions result in a sentence of two to four years in the state prison. The court might also impose a monetary fine of $10,000 or more, plus restitution to the victim or the deceased victim’s surviving family members.
Will My Insurance Cover Me if I Hit-And-Run?
Suppose you chose to leave the scene of a hit-and-run accident that you caused. In that case, your automobile liability insurance will likely not provide coverage for car repairs or your medical expenses.
However, the liability portion of your insurance will pay for any of the victim’s expenses, including property damage, 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 accident that you caused.
What is the Difference between Hit-And-Run and Leaving the Scene of an 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. Leaving the accident scene misdemeanor charges usually involves fender benders and parking lot accidents.
What Should I do if I Hit an Unattended Car?
The first step when hitting an unattended vehicle is not to panic. Next, stay at the scene of the accident and leave a note on the victim’s vehicle, indicating that you were reporting 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 who can work on your behalf to resolve all legal issues.
Who is at Fault for an 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. Every motorist 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 accident that might result in a criminal charge or civil action.
Why do Hit-And-Run Drivers Flee?
Many drivers will flee the scene of a hit-and-run accident because of the legal repercussions they might face if found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Others might leave the scene because they caused the accident due to distracted driving, texting while driving, driving fatigued, 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.
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, eleven percent of all car accidents involve hit-and-run drivers.
In Illinois, the law is unambiguous that no driver involved in an accident should ever leave when an injury has occurred (they might also face jail time if located):
(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 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 a vehicle and left at the accident scene by the negligent driver. 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 driver is never found, pedestrians and bicyclists can still often pursue a case for financial compensation through their auto insurance if they have uninsured motorist coverage. Similarly, suppose the driver responsible for the accident does not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate for an injured person.
In that case, a claim might 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
If the driver responsible for a hit and run accident is never found by law enforcement at the accident scene, all hope for financial compensation for personal injuries is not lost for the victims. Uninsured motorist coverage under their auto policy can pay damages to their vehicle and their injuries.
Many people do not realize that this insurance might cover them even if they were not in their vehicle and were hit by another driver. An uninsured motorist claim can pay 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 car accident lawyers involved victims of drunk driving traffic 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 hit and run accidents need the help of an experienced Chicago hit and run lawyer who can help them get them 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
Chicago Hit-and-Run car 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 car accidents involving serious injury or even death. If the driver is found or if you have uninsured motorist protection, we will use our knowledge to obtain the best financial outcome in your case.
Our hit-and-run accident lawyers invite you to contact us at (888) 424-5757 or schedule a free consultation through the contact form. 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.