Philadelphia Hit and Run Car Accident Lawyers
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WE HELP HIT AND RUN VICTIMS GET THE COMPENSATION THEY DESERVE
If you’ve been a victim of a hit and run accident, you understand how stressful the aftermath can be. Not only are you dealing with personal injuries and potential property loss, but you’re also probably stressed about who will pay for your medical bills and loss of income.
Whether or not you have identified the driver who hit you, you will need to speak with an experienced attorney to receive the compensation you deserve. At Thistle Law, we have over 80 years of experience in dealing with auto accidents and can help you determine if you have a legal case against the other driver with a free consultation.
How Prevalent Are Hit and Run Accidents in Philadelphia?
“An Epidemic” is how NBC Philadelphia described the alarming increase in hit and run accidents over the past few years. Between 2017 and 2018, officials documented an overwhelming 29,000 hit and run reports in the city of Philadelphia.
Certain areas and streets in Philadelphia are considered hot spots for hit and run accidents, including stretches of Roosevelt Boulevard, the sports complex in South Philadelphia, and the intersection outside of SugarHouse casino. Hit and run accidents are 4 times more likely to occur between midnight and 4 a.m., potentially due to poor visibility and a higher likelihood that the driver is driving under the influence.
What Are the Penalties for Hit and Run in Philadelphia?
The Pennsylvania Vehicle code states that drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or death must immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident to give information and aid to the victim. If they fail to remain at the site, they are subject to stiff penalties.
- If the driver flees the site of any accident, they will be charged with a misdemeanor.
- If the victim suffers serious bodily injuries, the driver who fled the scene will have commited a felony of the third degree, which can lead to no less than 90 days imprisonment and a minimum fine of $1,000.
- If there are fatalities as a result of the hit and run, the driver will be charged with a felony of the second degree, punishable by a minimum three years in jail, and mandatory minimum fine of $2,500.
What Should I Do if I Have Been the Victim of a Hit and Run?
Even if the driver has fled the scene, you are not powerless.
- Call 911: Get an ambulance and police on the scene, and immediately file a police report. Provide the police with as many details as possible.
- Gather Evidence: If possible, get contact information and statements from any witnesses, and take pictures of the accident scene.
- Get Medical Attention: Always see a medical provider after an accident and obtain documentation of any injuries you may have suffered.
- Call a Lawyer: Once the driver is apprehended, you may receive phone calls from the drivers insurance trying to offer you a settlement that is much less than what you are entitled to. Do not make any statements to their insurance representative until you have legal representation to help you navigate this process.
Always contact the police after a hit and run
What if the Driver Is Not Caught?
If the police do not apprehend the driver, your right to pursue monetary damages may depend on your insurance policy. If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance, your insurance company will help compensate you for your injuries, wage loss, and other items of loss. Even if you do not have this coverage, it is possible you might be able to receive compensation through your insurance if you maintained the minimum amount of auto insurance ($5,000 for first party medical bills)
What Does “No Fault” Mean?
Pennsylvania is a “no fault” state for car insurance, which means that your own car insurance policy will provide compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses associated with your accident through “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP” coverage. Pennsylvania offers drivers the option of purchasing “limited tort” or “full tort” coverage when purchasing car insurance.
- Limited tort: Limited tort coverage in Pennsylvania means you cannot sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering damages after an accident. Insurance companies will help you recover actual costs such as medical bills or lost wages, but any further claims won’t be considered. Pain and suffering damages will only be considered it the injury is a “serious injury”, which can include death, significant deformity, or an impairment of bodily functions.
- Full tort: Full tort coverage means that if you are injured in an accident, you can choose to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering damages. This usually means a higher premium on your car insurance.
Under Pennsylvania law, victims of hit and run cases are eligible to recover PIP benefits through their own car policy.
What a Hit and Run Victim Doesn’t Have Their Own Car Insurance?
If you were struck by a hit and run driver while you were a pedestrian or cyclist, or while you were a passenger in someone else's vehicle, you may not have car insurance of your own. This can be especially worrying if you were involved in an accident where the other driver fled the scene.
You may be able to make a PIP claim under a relative’s car insurance policy, such as if you are a child and make a PIP claim under your parent’s car insurance. Pedestrians and cyclists are of course eligible to make PIP claims through their own car insurance. For those who do not have their own car insurance, they can make a claim against the insurance of the at-fault driver, but only if the driver is caught.
If you have questions about how to receive compensation for your hit and run accident, and you do not have car insurance of your own, speaking with a skilled hit and run accident attorney can help you pursue all avenues to get your medical bills and other related expenses covered.
How To Find a Hit and Run Driver
It can seem overwhelming and challenging to try and find a hit and run driver after an accident. Your hit and run lawyer can help you track down the driver through several avenues, including:
- The police: Always get a police report after a car accident. If you were injured in the accident, the police are likely to investigate your accident as a crime and will attempt to locate the driver for you. They may be able to pull video from traffic cameras nearby.
- Witnesses: Always get contact information from any witnesses to the accident. Any information a witness might have will be useful, be it the color of the car, the direction it was traveling, the make and model, or even a portion of the license plate. These small details can help the police and your attorney identify the driver who hit you.
- Local businesses: Local businesses may have video surveillance cameras that might have recorded the accident. These recordings are often deleted on a regular basis, so make sure to check in with them soon after the accident occurs.
- Going door-to-door: Go door-to-door to homes and businesses in the area. There may be witnesses who didn’t immediately come forward, and some residents may have video doorbell cameras that might have recorded the accident.
- An experienced hit and run lawyer: A hit and run lawyer can help you think of other avenues to track down the driver who hit you, and can also assist you in locating all available sources of compensation for your injuries as well as for your pain and suffering.
When Should I Contact a Lawyer About a Hit and Run Accident?
Hit and run accident lawsuits are successful based on factors like insurance coverage, fault, and the extent of your damages. Under 42 Pa.Cons.Stat. § 5524(2), a victim has two years from the date injuries were caused to commence a personal injury action. Even if you don’t know the identity of the individual who hit you, the attorneys at Thistle Law can investigate your accident and enlist the aid of experts in accident reconstruction.
Our top priority is your health and well-being. If you need help locating a medical specialist, getting your vehicle repaired, or getting your medical bills paid or deferred while you wait for your claim to be settled, the attorneys at Thistle Law can help. Contact our office for a free consultation today by calling 215-525-6824 or by filling out our form.
We’ll determine if you have a case. Call today at 215-525-6824 or complete this form: