When a hit-and-run accident occurs, the victim rarely sees it coming. The driver that causes the accident may hit you or your car, panic, and flee the scene before you know what happened. This can be a scary situation for anyone.
You may be disoriented after your injuries or caring for passengers who were also injured. You also may be concerned about who will pay for your medical bills when the responsible party flees. The New Orleans hit-and-run accident lawyers at Morris Bart, LLC can make sure insurance companies help you pay for your treatments.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when one of the vehicles involved in a crash flees the scene before law enforcement arrives to investigate. It is the responsibility of anyone involved in a collision to stay at the scene and make sure any injured parties are taken care of until aid has arrived.
The state of Louisiana specifically spells out penalties for any driver convicted of a hit-and-run accident. The penalties are especially harsh if someone leaves the scene of an accident where the victims were injured or killed.
If you or a loved one has been a hit-and-run victim, a New Orleans car accident lawyercan explain your options.
For a free legal consultation with a Hit and Run Accident lawyer serving New Orleans, call 800-537-8185
Hit-and-Run Penalties in Louisiana
The criminal charges for a hit-and-run in Louisiana will depend on the details of the offense. A hit-and-run driver can either be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. However, either way, Louisiana prosecutors take this criminal negligence very seriously.
Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run Penalties
If no serious bodily injury or death occurs, the person who hit you could still face a misdemeanor punishment if they flee the accident scene, including:
- Up to $500 in fines
- Up to six months in jail
- Both up to $500 in fines and a maximum of six months in jail
The driver would also face a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 6 months in jail, a $500 maximum fine, or both if the criminal prosecutor can prove they were drunk or on drugs and that they didn’t stop because they knew they’d be prosecuted.
Felony Hit-and-Run Penalties
The hit-and-run driver in your case could face felony charges if:
- Serious bodily injury or death occurred.
- The driver knew or should have known death or serious bodily injury occurred.
Once charged, the judge may sentence them to:
- A maximum of $5,000 in fines
- A prison sentence of up to 10 years, with or without hard labor
- Both, a maximum of $5,000 in fines and the prison sentence up to 10 years
The perpetrator in your case will face the most severe felony hit-and-run driving penalties if all the following conditions are met:
- The accident directly caused severe bodily injury or death
- The driver was aware or should have been aware that their motor vehicle or operation of the vehicle caused the accident
- They had previously pled guilty to: a DWI (driving while intoxicated) two more times within 10 years of the hit-and-run; vehicular negligent injuring; first degree vehicular negligent injuring, or vehicular homicide
If the hit-and-run driver is found guilty, the judge is required to sentence them to a minimum of five to 20 years in prison, with or without hard labor.
New Orleans Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-537-8185
Noteworthy Hit-and-Run Statistics
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are more common in Louisiana than in other states, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In fact, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Florida had the highest hit-and-run crashes per 100,000 people between 2010 and 2016.
Hit-and-run accidents are common throughout the United States. In 2015, 11.7% of all crashes involved a hit-and-run driver, accounting for 1,819 fatalities and 138,500 injuries.
In Louisiana in 2015, there were 41 fatalities related to hit-and-run crashes and 4,155 injuries.
Reasons That People Flee the Scene of a Hit-and-Run
Multiple theories exist as to why someone would cause a traffic accident and then leave the scene:
- Drunk driving or while on drugs: The driver does not want the police to charge them for a DWI, so they try to escape. Drunk drivers also will make errors in judgment.
- Possession of drugs or other illegal items: The driver may have illegal drugs or a firearm in the car, and they do not want law enforcement to find them.
- No license: The driver does not have a legal driver’s license, so they flee the scene to avoid the police.
- Committing another crime: The driver may have committed another crime, caused the accident, and wanted to avoid speaking with the police.
- Panic: The driver who caused the accident panics and is not thinking clearly, choosing to flee the scene instead of taking responsibility.
Regardless of why someone fled the scene, they will be subject to prosecution for the hit-and-run crime when the police catch them. And you can hold them accountable for your damages with the help of a hit-and-run accident lawyer in New Orleans.
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What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should immediately call the police. If someone suffers injuries in your vehicle, they will need care from first responders. After all the victims have received proper care, you can then begin trying to help law enforcement track down the driver who fled the scene by taking a few actions:
- Write down the license plate number of the other car
- Write down anything you remember about the other driver or car
- Write down a description of the damage on the other car
- Check with any witnesses
- Tell the police if you suspect the other driver was speeding, drinking, or behaving in an abnormal manner
- Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the surrounding scene
By catching the other driver, their insurance can provide you with payment for your injuries. Our New Orleans hit-and-run accident lawyers know how to help you gather information about your accident.
At Morris Bart, LLC, we stand by hit-and-run victims in Orleans Parish, New Orleans East, and elsewhere in the greater New Orleans area. Call us at (504) 613-4771 for a free case review.
Will Insurance Pay for My Hit-and-Run Crash Injuries?
If the other driver evades the police after a hit-and-run crash, you may have medical bills and other problems for which you deserve compensation. Unfortunately, in a case like this, you will have to rely on your health and auto insurance to help you recover damages.
- Medical bills:Your health insurance policy will cover the injuries you have suffered in the crash. If you have a specific type of auto policy, it may pay for a portion of your medical bills up to a cap.
- Property damage:Your car insurance policy’s collision coverage should pay for the damages to your car that resulted from the hit-and-run. However, your insurance company will expect you to pay the deductible.
- Pain and suffering:Your compensation for pain and suffering will come from your auto insurance if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. In Louisiana, drivers must specifically opt-out of uninsured motorist coverage or include it in their policies.
Defending Your Rights Against Insurance Companies
Surprisingly, you may find that your own insurance company is fighting you and resisting the obligation to pay you the proper compensation. If your insurer is not helping you with medical bills, property damage claims, and pain and suffering claims, your New Orleans hit-and-run accident attorney can present the facts to the insurer.
Under the law, you have rights if you were a victim of injuries caused by wrongdoing or negligence. Yet you need to act before Louisiana’s one-year statute of limitations expires. So, our legal team will:
- Investigate your hit-and-run case
- Gather evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Assist you in securing the compensation you deserve
Call New Orleans’ Premier Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys
As a trusted team of New Orleans hit-and-run accident lawyers, we know how to help. We will work tirelessly on your behalf, helping you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. When you hire the Morris Bart, LLC team, we will be ready to begin working for you immediately.
Call us at (504) 613-4771 as soon as possible. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until you do.
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