Hit-and-Runs on the Rise Across US
New Jersey hit-and-run statistics are disturbingly high, and rising. From 2006 to 2016, there were 413 deadly hit-and-run crashes in New Jersey. As the average increases year by year, it seems like this disturbing escalation of hit-and-runs has no chance of slowing down.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run occurs every minute in the United States. In 2016 there were 2,049 deaths caused by hit-and-runs, which is the highest recorded number and a 60% increase from 2009.
AAA defines hit-and-runs as collisions “in which at least one person involved in a crash flees the scene before offering any (or sufficient) information or aid to the other involved person(s) or fails to properly report the crash.” The most common victims of hit-and-runs are pedestrians. Most hit-and-runs happen at night, when visibility is low and drivers are more prone to being intoxicated or driving without a license.
If you’re ever involved in an accident, please remember it is your moral obligation to remain on the scene and aid the victim/s. Fleeing the scene will only increase possible legal penalties for the driver, no matter if he was the cause of the crash or not. In the times of social media like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, there’s no privacy, and the chances that you will get away from a hit-and-run without being identified or filmed are extremely slim.
Police Capt. Matthew Hartman commented on the rise of hit-and-runs, saying, “It’s that split-second decision that changes everything. When you seriously injure somebody in a crash, or you kill somebody in a crash, and you leave the scene, whether it’s your fault or not, you are pretty much guaranteeing that you will be spending time on the inside of some sort of a correctional facility for some period of time.”
What to Do After a Hit-And-Run
A hit-and-run accident can leave you very shaken, angry, and confused. If you find yourself the unfortunate victim of such a circumstance, these steps will make it easier for you to help catch the driver who did it, as well as help you make a stronger claim.
When you are the victim of a hit-and-run, it is crucial for you to stay calm and quickly gather all the information you can. If you can, take note of the make, model, and license plate number of the car that hit you. Having this information will increase the police’s odds of catching the guilty party, and it helps your car insurance company make decisions regarding your claim. If there are any witnesses to the accident, make sure to take down their names and contact information. Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure to write down the time and location, and take pictures of the scene and your car.
After a hit-and-run, it is imperative that you file a police report as soon as possible. Even if the police do not find the driver responsible for hitting you, it helps your insurance claim to have an official police report.
Car Insurance Coverage for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Your insurance company usually provides uninsured motorist coverage that covers hit-and-runs. Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage pays for medical expenses, while uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) covers car repairs. In New Jersey, basic insurance policies for private vehicles do not require uninsured motorist coverage, but purchasing it is a very good idea.
These are the states that do NOT allow UM property damage coverage to be used to pay for damages from a hit-and-run:
In these states, personal injury protection, collision coverage, and medical payments coverage can cover injuries and car damage.
Need Legal Help After a Hit-and-Run?
The laws regarding car accidents in New Jersey are crystal clear, and they require every person involved in a crash to remain at the scene until the authorities arrive. Those who fail to do so face very harsh legal penalties.
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run, you’re probably suffering from stress, anxiety, and physical pain. You might be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our NJ hit-and-run accident attorneys are more than happy to take over for you and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation. You should be spending this time recovering, and not having to worry about insurance companies or injury claims. This is where we come in and do the hard work, while you focus on getting better.
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