Hit and Run Accident

Hit and Run Lawyer

car accident head injury victimWere you or a loved one hurt in a hit-and-run accident in Louisiana? Legal counsel is free unless you obtain a successful verdict or settlement, so there is no harm in exploring your options. It takes someone with determination and extensive local connections to conduct the sort of thorough investigation that turns up reckless and negligent motorists who think they are above the law and can get away from it all.

Personal injury attorney Bart Bernard has devoted his practice to protecting the rights of the innocent. Over the past two decades he has successfully litigated numerous hit and run injury claims throughout Louisiana, helping his clients recoup significant compensation for their losses.

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

The legal definition of a hit and run is: “the intentional failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in or causing an accident to stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident, to give his identity, and to render reasonable aid.” Drivers involved in an accident that has caused property or physical harm must give name, address and license number to the victim or to the police.

Hit and run consequences

  • For hit-and-run offenders: The consequences for a hit-and-run accident vary from state to state, but the crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony in Louisiana. A misdemeanor hit-and-run offense can lead to a maximum fine of $500 and imprisonment ranging from 10 days to six months. The penalty for a felony hit-and-run – in cases of severe bodily injury or fatality — is a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail sentence up to 10 years. Offenders are subject to license suspension and probation upon release, not to mention increases to their auto insurance or outright cancellation. Drivers with prior offenses or willful concealment of the crime can see enhanced jail sentences ranging from five to 20 years.
  • For victims of hit-and-run: Of course, the consequences for victims are far worse. They suffer injuries like broken bones, organ perforation, nerve damage causing permanent disability, disfiguring burns and scars, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and psychological issues ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to depression. The life-altering financial losses alone are enough to cripple a person.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Car Accident

A hit-and-run victim’s life changes in the blink of an eye. There are several steps toward preparing a strong court case:

Who is Liable for a Hit & Run?

Hit-and-run liability is not always a clear-cut case of driver vs. victim. There are many reasons for drivers to crash into other motorists or pedestrians. You may be eligible to sue the driver who fled the scene, but other liable parties may include:

  • Party hosts: Did someone force the driver to consume alcohol unknowingly or against his/her will? Unlike most states, Louisiana has not enacted strict “dram shop” laws that allow injured persons to go after an alcohol vendor or social host if a hit-and-run driver has been drinking or using drugs.
  • Local municipalities: Did unsafe road conditions and maintenance contribute to the accident? Were there known issues with a blind turn or a malfunctioning signal?
  • Motor vehicle manufacturers or maintenance personnel: Did the driver’s vehicle malfunction in some way? Did maintenance personnel make an error that led to the driver unknowingly operating an unsafe vehicle?
  • Commercial entities: Was the driver working for a company at the time of the accident that had overscheduled, administered improper training, or overlooked a history of safety violations?

We don’t make excuses for hit-and-run drivers. The person who actually hit you and failed to stop and render aid at the scene is always the primary defendant. There are, however, many possible angles that arise during hit-and-run investigations; so it’s best to contact a Louisiana car accident lawyer who will conduct a very thorough search into all the contributing factors of the accident once the perpetrator has been caught.

Hit and Run Lawsuit Settlements

There is no guarantee or “average” hit-and-run settlement amount. Each case is judged on its own unique merits.

Pedestrian hit and run settlements

Pedestrians suffer some of the worst outcomes in hit-and-run accidents. One in five pedestrian fatalities is caused by hit and run drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian hit-and-run settlements have all the same factors of any hit-and-run crime, but may have higher amounts to cover: funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of guidance and emotional support for dependents, as well as loss of income and lost companionship for a spouse.

When Should I Contact a Hit and Run Lawyer?

The ideal situation is to contact a lawyer immediately following your accident. Even if you think your injuries are minor in nature — which is often the case with soft tissue neck and back injuries –it’s always wise to seek legal representation.

Louisiana has a two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. You have from two years to file from the time you became aware of the extent of your injuriesnot necessarily from the date of the accident itself. Bart Bernard understands Louisiana law and has a proven track record of winning tough motor vehicle accident cases. Call (337) 989-2278 to schedule a free case review today.

Hit and Run Lawsuit Resources

Last modified: February 15, 2017

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