Car Accident
Apr 25, 2024

Car accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, and are often times life-altering events for many victims who may be reeling from long-term pain and suffering, increasingly expensive medical costs, and lost wages from time spent out of work. The occurrence of a car accident affects you emotionally as well, resulting in feelings of panic, anxiety, stress, and depression that can pervade your everyday life. If you’ve suffered a severe injury as a result of a recent hit-and-run accident in Philadelphia, you could be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries and losses. 

A hit-and-run is a car accident that occurs when  a driver leaves the scene of an accident without exchanging information with the other involved drivers. This is an illegal act under most state laws. In Philadelphia, someone who causes a car accident and thereafter flees the scene of the accident may face  felony charge, license revocation, fines, and points on their driving record.

At The Law Offices Of Greg Prosmushkin, we have a dedicated team of Philadelphia car accident attorneys ready to offer representation to accident victims and win them the compensation they’re owed. We provide victim support and peace of mind so you can focus on your recovery. 

Why It is Vital to Hire an Attorney Following a Hit and Run

The reason why hiring an accident injury lawyer following a hit-and-run is so important is because, generally, hit-and-runs may make it difficult to pursue damages from insurance companies. This can be due to a lack of evidence that the accident was the fault of another when the other driver is still unidentified.

A Philadelphia hit and run accident lawyer can also help investigate your case, and work alongside accident reconstruction experts and law enforcement to help identify the driver who fled the scene and potentially  determine liability. Anything from photographs, dash cam, surveillance footage, witness statements, and any other potential evidence can be crucial to building strong cases for victims.

Insurance companies may try to refute your claim if there’s a lack of evidence, so having a lawyer’s experience  in crash accident lawsuits could be the difference between a positive and negative outcome. Hiring legal counsel sooner rather than later can also be vital so that the investigation can begin right after the incident occurred, and so that evidence does not become lost or stale.

Economic Versus Non-Economic Damages: Making Sense of Hit-and-Run Compensation with a Lawyer: 

Compensation for a driver in a car accident can be broken down into a number of ways. The most common way is by taking into consideration economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages refer to quantifiable (or tangible) losses you suffered, usually monetary, that can be calculated into your settlement. This can include lost wages, medical expenses, vehicle repair bills, court fees, and other financial losses incurred by  the victim.

Non-economic damages refer to less tangible losses that may not factor into a 1:1 calculation, but ultimately contribute to the overall suffering victims may experience following an accident. This can include trauma, loss of consortium (meaning damaged personal relationships), loss of enjoyment of life, and other emotional duress that may warrant compensation.

On top of this, there are punitive damages, which may be awarded to the plaintiff for especially willful, wanton, and egregious acts . However, it should be noted that an award of punitive damages is usually rare as the majority of cases do not go to trial.

Available Legal Avenues: How a Lawyer Can Help You Understand Your Legal Options

Some may feel indecisive as to the most reasonable course of action after a hit-and-run crash. Again, your options may come down to whether or not the other driver was identified. You can schedule a free case evaluation with a lawyer to learn the details of what your case may entail.

The role of a personal injury lawyer in a personal injury case is to help victims understand their rights in in the aftermath of a hit and run accident, and whether or not to open an insurance claim, file a lawsuit, or pursue alternate dispute resolutions (ADR). Before deciding how to resolve your case, an attorney must make an important decision regarding which party or parties they will impute liability to. For example, when a victim is involved in a subset of accidents known as guardrail accidents, in which the victim’s car is pushed into a guard rail by another motor vehicle, assuming the the guardrail was defective in any way that contributed to or exacerbated the victim’s injuries, the victim may be able to include the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation accountable in its lawsuit or negotiations. 

Their legal assistance can advise you on the steps to take, assess any potential risks, and develop an effective legal strategy. Attorneys are also persuasive negotiators and litigators, so they are well-equipped to deal with any lowballing insurance agencies or a tough jury during court proceedings.

Having experienced  attorney advice may be the strongest factor toward getting a winning settlement. Your initial consultation will also detail how much your claim can be worth, and the timetable of how soon you could be compensated.

What Are Your Legal Options Following a Hit and Run Accident in Philadelphia?  

You should always prioritize your health during an accident aftermath. If you’ve checked yourself for injuries, the next best thing is to gather evidence at the scene. Since it is a hit and run, you won’t be able to exchange information like one usually would, but if you were able to identify a license plate number before they sped off, testimonies from witnesses, or took any photos of skid marks and debris on the road, it could go a long way toward proving your case.

Reporting a hit-and-run accident to NYPD law enforcement and road authorities would follow this step, but when reporting, you must not admit any fault of your own about the accident, just recount what you remember about the scene, such as road conditions, weather, a description of the vehicle, and any pre-existing conditions.

The next best thing is getting in touch with a accident attorney to explore your legal options following a hit and run accident. You should also call or get in touch with your insurance carriers to begin the claims process. Show them any of the evidence collection, such as photographs, you were able to collect at the scene. 

It may be helpful to have your doctor bill your insurance for medical treatment you receive that stems from the car accident, to ensure that damages are properly reflected. Regardless of whether your insurance is private or public, usually doctors will not bill them automatically, so this is an important step.

Ascertaining Liability in the Aftermath of an Accident 

Deciding whether to claim fault or sue the driver (if identified) after a severe car accident may depend on several factors, such as the insurance coverage and applicable laws. 

Your insurance company will likely cover the damages up to their specific policy limitations if you yourself were at fault. You’ll still be responsible for paying your deductible, though. Should your medical expenses exceed the insurance limits, you may consider suing the driver.

Generally, a lawsuit should be considered if the defendant’s insurance company is lowballing you or if there is a liability dispute. You should consult with an attorney to help you evaluate the potential value of your claim.

Some states have no-fault auto-insurance laws, meaning no matter who is liable in a car accident, each party is required to file a claim with their insurance. Philadelphia is a no-fault state, so drivers are typically required to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which ultimately makes drivers less vulnerable to lawsuits or out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Filing a Claim Through Your Insurance Policy 

Typically, filing a claim with your own insurance is the most straightforward way to recover your damages. First, you should review your insurance policy. Typically, drivers are issued a policy number in order to review, so this way drivers can understand their deductible (usually a fixed amount of money described in the policy).

Make sure you have accurate documentation, such as police reports, proof of ownership, estimates, quotes, invoices, and other such documents for when you fill out the claim forms.

Once you’ve filed your claim, you can cooperate with the process by scheduling inspections for the damage and waiting for the company’s assessment. Your attorney can assist in this process and help negotiate the final settlement. Once you and your attorney have reviewed the offer and agree, you’ll be asked to sign a release form to waive any further claims on the accidents.

Alternative Ways to Obtain Compensation

Most lawyers are also well-versed in ADR, meaning beyond just settlement negotiation and litigation in court, they can explore alternative options that may help you obtain the compensation you deserve. 

Mediation and arbitration are two ways which may involve a third party between the victim and the insurance adjuster to reach a compromise. 

Determining the Value of Your Case 

Calculating your financial recovery can come down to a number of factors. It is typically a calculation of your economic and non-economic damages, and may involve vehicle repairs, lost wages, medical bills, insurance fees, and any other damages relating back to the accident.

What if I Identify the Person Involved in a Hit and Run Accident 

If a driver is identified, you may want to inform your insurance company so that they can adjust your compensation, and consult with your injury lawyer about legal options to pursue charges against the at-fault driver. 

In some cases, liability may be attributed to multiple parties. For example, some hit-and-run accidents are the result of red light crashes, which are accidents that occur when a vehicle enters an intersection against a red traffic signal, often resulting in collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. If you have been involved in an accident at  a red light involving multiple parties. Your case may be far more complex than your garden variety case for purposes of determining liability. As such, it is crucial to speak with an experienced lawyer to consult you on your matter. 

Suing the driver or drivers responsible for your accident could be a viable option once the driver has been identified by police and traffic authorities. It’s likely the driver’s hit-and-run charges may affect your settlement and you may reach a more favorable verdict.

With this in mind, pursuing a civil lawsuit may be a viable option only if you and your legal representation are unable to reach an agreement on a settlement or do not agree to terms via alternate dispute resolutions.

Schedule a Consultation with a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Today 

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run in Philadelphia, hiring an experienced hit-and-run lawyer is one of the first steps you can take toward receiving fair and just compensation for your injuries.

At the law offices of Greg Prosmushkin, we have the experience and track record necessary to close your settlement on action and serve justice for hit-and-run accident victims like you. Schedule a consultation with us and we can discuss the facts of your case and go over your car accident rights.