Hit-and-run accidents can be devastatingly harmful to those injured. In a regular accident, the victim has suffered harm, but also has the identity of the other driver and the name of that driver’s insurer when it comes time to seek compensation for losses he’s suffered. In a hit-and-run accident, the injured person has the same harm, but has no identifiable driver to pursue for his losses. So, if you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, does that mean that you must wait for the police to catch the hit-and-run driver and, if they don’t, you are completely “out of luck” when it comes to filing a lawsuit for your damages? Not necessarily. There may still be options to get you the compensation you need. Talk to a knowledgeable San Mateo car accident attorney about your circumstances to discover what you can do.
J.G.A. was an example of the good in people. According to KPIX, the 31-year-old driver from South San Francisco came upon a single-vehicle accident on southbound 101 in San Mateo just before 2 a.m. one morning. J.G.A. stopped to help the driver who had crashed into the center median and suffered serious injuries.
A different driver was an example of the not-so-good in people. That driver, behind the wheel of a blue or green SUV, came upon J.G.A. and the first driver. According to the report, the SUV driver slammed into J.G.A. and kept going. J.G.A. died as a result of the injuries inflicted by the hit-and-run driver.
If you’ve been hurt by a hit-and-run driver, it is important to take action promptly. If you noticed anything about the vehicle that hit you (or its driver,) make a note of it, so that you can give that information to the police, and later to your injury attorney. If you remember nothing about the vehicle or driver that hit you, do not despair – this is not uncommon, and not fatal to your case.
Be sure to notify the police as soon as possible. After that, obtain counsel. The law says that you only have two years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. Your experienced attorney may have various investigative tools and other resources at his/her fingertips that will give you a much better chance of identifying your hit-and-run driver than if you try to do it on your own.
The potential for punitive damages in your hit-and-run accident case
If you and your attorney are able to identify the driver who hit you and then fled the scene, then your case could be one that yields a significant damages award. In addition to potential awards for your past and future medical bills, lost earnings and pain and suffering, the fact that driver who hit you fled may open the door for you to assert a claim for punitive damages and succeed. Punitive damages awards are meant to punish the wrongdoer and to discourage others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct in the future, and they can be very sizable sums. They are available when a defendant engages in conduct that was intentionally or recklessly injurious, or does something that is particularly outrageous. Depending on the facts of your case, your hit-and-run driver’s conduct may fit that definition.
Your hit-and-run accident case may be a very challenging one, but that does not mean it is an impossible one. For legal counsel with the skills and resources you need to provide the aid your case deserves, reach out to the experienced San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our knowledgeable and determined attorneys have spent many years helping injured people achieve positive results, even when the circumstances may at first seem daunting. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.