Hit and Run Accidents
Baton Rouge Hit and Run Lawyer
Hit and run accidents are often scarier than general car accidents because you’re quite literally left in the dust with an adrenaline rush and a damaged car. You may be facing thousands of dollars in medical expenses, lost wages, and car damage after the accident. And the worst part is, you and the police may not even know where the hit and run driver is so that they can compensate you. If you’re in this situation, one of the first things you need to do (before you even notify your insurance company) is hire a Baton Rouge hit and run lawyer.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown has what it takes to defend both sides of a hit and run accident: the negligent driver and the victim. That’s because we have decades of combined experience in successfully litigating both criminal and personal injury cases. We are truly the best team to have on your side whether you’re seeking financial compensation or you need someone to defend your legal rights.
We are ready to start an attorney client relationship with you today. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.
What is a Hit and Run Car Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a negligent driver crashes into another driver and then immediately leaves the scene of an accident without checking on them or exchanging crucial information with them. Hit and run accidents can happen to an occupied car, a parked car, a bicyclist, a motorcycle rider, or even a pedestrian.
Because a hit and run accident is considered a crime in many states, a hit and run driver can face both criminal charges and a personal injury claim from the other driver. Whether you’re the victim or the hit and run driver, a Baton Rouge hit and run lawyer at our law firm can defend you.
Hit and Run Car Accident Statistics
When it comes to hit-and-runs, we’re unfortunately going backward in change as a nation. As of right now, you should be aware of these facts from AAA:
- More than one hit-and-run occurs every minute.
- An average of 682,000 hit-and-run accidents have occurred each year since 2006.
- Hit-and-run deaths in the United States have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
- Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- New Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes per capita.
As one of the few states with one of the highest rates of fatality in hit-and-run crashes, our team of car accident attorneys stands ready to defend you in your hit and run case.
Why Do Hit and Run Drivers Leave the Scene?
In most hit and run cases, drivers immediately leave the traffic accident scene because they are actively engaging in illegal activity and/or they just don’t want to take responsibility for the accident. For example, a hit and run driver may leave the scene of the accident because they:
- Are impaired by drugs or alcohol. An impaired driver naturally doesn’t want to face the consequences of a drunk driving accident.
- Are using a stolen car.
- Don’t have enough uninsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage).
- Are driving with no license or a suspended license.
- Already have multiple traffic offenses on their record.
- Have an outstanding arrest warrant for a crime.
How are Hit and Run Drivers Located After An Accident?
In many hit and run cases, police are able to track down the driver through surveillance video and witness statements. Surveillance video may provide a license plate number, and finding the hit and run driver from there isn’t too difficult. Once the driver is caught, the victim may be able to recover damages from their collision coverage, if they have it of course.
In some cases, there is no surveillance footage or nearby witnesses, which means that police may not be able to track down the hit and run driver. This means that the victim may have a difficult time recovering damages – such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage – from the auto accident. If the at-fault driver is never found and therefore doesn’t provide compensation to the victim, then victims may have to pursue compensation from their own uninsured motorist coverage.
Baton Rouge car accident lawyers at our law office can help you recover compensation through the at-fault driver or through a personal injury claim.
Common Hit and Run Accident Injuries
Not only can a hit and run accident result in a damaged vehicle, but it can also result in major personal injuries. Common injuries from car accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Skull or facial fractures
- Spinal cord injury
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries such as whiplash
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Joint dislocations
- Broken bones
- Loss of fetus
- Degloving injuries
- Major bruises, road rash, and lacerations
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability
- Internal organ damage
- Wrongful death
Louisiana Hit and Run Laws
Louisiana laws regarding hit and run accidents can be complicated and can work against you if you aren’t aware of your rights.
In Louisiana, the hit-and-run law is “the intentional failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in or causing any accident, to stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident, to give his identity, and to render reasonable aid.” Depending on the details of the case, the driver could face a felony or a misdemeanor hit and run charge.
For it to be a misdemeanor, there must be no death or serious bodily injury. Whoever commits this crime will face a maximum fine of $500 and/or up to six months in jail when all of these conditions are met:
- Evidence that the driver consumed alcohol or used drugs prior to the accident.
- This substance contributed to the accident.
- The driver failed to stop, give his identity, or render aid with the knowledge that his actions could affect an actual or potential present, past, or future criminal investigation or proceeding.
On the other hand, a hit-and-run is a felony charge when serious injury or death is a direct result of the accident and when the driver knows (or should have known) that death or serious bodily injury has occurred. In these cases, the driver shall be fined at least $5,000 or imprisoned with or without hard labor for more than 10 years, or both. If all of the following conditions are met, the driver shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than five years nor more than twenty years.
- Death or serious bodily injury is a direct result of the accident.
- The driver knew or must have known that the vehicle he was operating was involved in an accident or that his operation of the vehicle was the direct cause of an accident.
- The driver had been previously convicted of a violation of R.S. 14:98, R.S. 14:32.1, R.S. 14:39.1, or R.S. 14:39.
What Should I Do if I’m Injured in a Hit and Run Accident?
Being involved in any type of car accident is terrifying, even if it’s a minor fender bender. Being involved in a hit and run collision is often worse because you may be left with major injuries and extensive car damage. You may also be confused about how to even handle the situation once the driver has fled the scene. With a big adrenaline rush on top of everything else, you may feel close to panicking.
In order to stay calm, cool, and collected during a hit and run accident, this is what you should do:
- Call the Police: Be sure to dial 911 which will notify both police and EMTs to respond to the scene. The police will get started on a crash report – which you can use as evidence later on if necessary – while the EMTs give you medical attention.
- Gather Evidence: If you’re not injured or disabled from the accident, you should gather as much evidence as you can. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene and of your damaged car with your cell phone. Gather names and phone numbers of nearby witnesses. This evidence may benefit you later if you choose to sue the hit and run driver.
- Call a Baton Rouge Hit and Run Attorney Immediately: Before you do anything else, you should make sure you have strong legal counsel on your side. A hit and run accident could easily result in criminal charges for the at fault driver and difficulty recovering damages for the victim. Experienced hit and run lawyers from the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can be extremely helpful when it comes to obtaining justice in a case like this.
- Notify Your Own Insurance Company of the Accident: Once you have spoken to an attorney, you can notify your insurance company of the accident. We can help you with the right words when you first notify your insurance so that you can receive the compensation you deserve. Additionally, it’s important to remember to not accept a settlement from your collision coverage until you speak with hit and run attorneys first. Your insurance company may be trying to low-ball you without you realizing it. Let us help.
Is Louisiana an At-Fault State?
Yes, Louisiana is an at-fault state. This is a very important thing to remember, especially in hit and run accident cases. Living in an at-fault state means that the negligent driver must pay for the victim’s damages through their auto insurance coverage if they caused an accident.
Louisiana also follows a pure comparative fault rule when it comes to motor vehicle accidents (CC 2323). This means that if you share any percentage of fault in a car accident with another driver, then your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re at least 10% at fault in a car accident, then the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by 10%.
Damages for a Hit and Run Accident
Baton Rouge hit and run accident attorneys can help victims recover compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future physical therapy bills
- Caregiving expenses, if the victim becomes disabled and needs round-the-clock care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if the victim’s disability prevents them from accomplishing the same job duties as before their accident
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Counseling expenses
- Legal fees
- Property damage
- Funeral and burial expenses, if the accident resulted in wrongful death
Call a Baton Rouge Hit and Run Lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown TodayIf you’re involved in a hit and run accident, you need a Baton Rouge hit and run lawyer on your side. We have what it takes to defend you, whether you’re the hit and run driver or the victim. That’s because we are one of the top criminal defense and personal injury law firms in Baton Rouge, LA. If you’re the victim, our legal team can help you recover a fair settlement through insurance coverage or through a personal injury claim. If you’re the hit and run driver, we can protect your legal rights and help you receive the best case outcome possible. Call our law firm today at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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