5 FAQs About Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians often suffer catastrophic injuries in accidents involving motor vehicles. However, if the driver flees the scene, this already traumatic experience can become even more distressing. With no one to hold accountable for their damages, victims are often left on the hook for their sky-high medical bills and other damages.
If you’ve found yourself in this terrifying situation, it may be in your best interests to contact a New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer can assess your case, answer your questions, and discuss your options for pursuing compensation. He or she may also be able to help authorities identify the at-fault motorist.
Read on to learn the answers to some FAQs about hit-and-run accident claims in the state:
1. What Should I Do If I’m Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?
If you were struck by a motorist who fled the scene, you should contact authorities immediately so that police can begin tracking down the driver who injured you. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be for officers to identify the at-fault motorist.
Here are a few more steps you should take after a wreck:
- Seek Medical Treatment: Even if you suffered minor injuries, it’s important that you attend a medical examination as soon as possible after the collision. Not only may your adrenaline be masking the symptoms of a potentially life-threatening condition, but a prompt medical evaluation will also help you tie your injuries to the accident and avoid any disputes over failure to mitigate damages.
- Document the Accident Scene: If you are physically able to do so, you should take pictures of your injuries, road conditions, road markings, nearby signage, and any other factors that could help prove liability and damages.
- Speak to Eyewitnesses: If any onlookers saw the accident take place, their accounts could be crucial to the success of your claim. Make sure to take down their names and contact details to share with your attorney during the initial consultation.
2. Can I Receive Punitive Damages after a Hit and Run?
While punitive damages are rarely awarded, a hit-and-run collision is a common scenario where a judge or jury may decide to award such damages to punish the defendant. As everyone on the road is deemed to be legally aware of their responsibilities at the scene of a collision, fleeing the scene before authorities have arrived or parties have exchanged insurance information is often seen as an intentional act that may justify punitive damages.
3. How Much Is My Case Worth?
New Jersey employs a comparative negligence system for personal injury claims. As such, you can only recover compensation for damages resulting from an accident if you can show that the defendant is more than 51% responsible for causing the collision. Typically, a judge or jury will assess the evidence presented to determine how liability is apportioned among the parties involved.
Let’s take a look at some of the damages commonly available to plaintiffs:
- Current and future medical costs
- Long-term healthcare interventions
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of consortium
- Lost earnings
- Diminished earning potential
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Property repairs
4. What Is the Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accident Cases in New Jersey?
In the state, you will have up to two years from the day you were injured to bring a lawsuit against the motorist who injured you. If you fail to file a suit within this timeframe, the New Jersey court system will likely refuse to hear your case, leaving you with no way to recover compensation for the damages you incurred.
5. Can I Still Recover Compensation If I Was Jaywalking?
If you were violating traffic laws or behaving negligently at the time of the accident, you can still seek compensation for your damages. However, it’s likely that your damages may be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a judge or jury decides you were 30 percent liable for the accident because you were jaywalking, your financial award would be reduced by that same percentage.
However, your attorney can dispute how liability is apportioned by helping you gather evidence to counter or overcome any defenses that might arise. As such, even if you were jaywalking, it’s still possible that you could recover compensation for 100 percent of your damages—especially if you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Speak to a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in New Jersey Today
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, turn to the legal team at the Clark Law Firm for reliable answers and legal guidance. We have extensive experience handling a wide variety of personal injury claims including car wrecks, pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, construction site injuries, and many others. Reach out to us today 1-877-841-8855 to head over to our Online Contact Form to request a free case review.