Lake County Hit and Run Car Accident Attorneys

McHenry County Hit and Run Car Accident Attorneys

With so many people on the roadways, accidents are bound to happen. Whether they occur between two vehicles or are the result of a vehicle striking a pedestrian, accidents can have a significant impact on those involved. Unfortunately, some accidents leave more questions than answers because one party involved leaves the scene before the investigation is complete. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you deserve answers from Lake County hit-and-run car accident attorneys.

At Franks Gerkin Ponitz & Greeley, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to help you recover damages that you may be entitled to. We understand that the person fleeing the scene is seeking to avoid responsibility for the accident. Our team works diligently on behalf of our clients to not only investigate the accident but also to determine the party responsible and hold them financially and criminally responsible.

What Is a Hit and Run?

Any driver who is involved in an accident within the state of Illinois has a duty to remain at the scene of the accident until a proper investigation has been completed and drivers have exchanged information. If a driver fails to adhere to this law and leaves the scene of an accident, they have committed the crime of hit and run. This applies to all drivers regardless of fault in the accident. Under Illinois law, a driver who flees could be charged with a felony crime.

The reason one may flee from the scene of an accident can vary, but common reasons include:

  • The driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The driver is operating their vehicle while they have a suspended license.
  • The driver is operating the vehicle without the proper insurance.
  • The driver has an outstanding warrant.
  • The vehicle a driver is operating is stolen.

This list does not encompass all the reasons a driver may flee. However, having an understanding of the reasons can help you and your attorney navigate the investigation to properly hold the responsible driver accountable. In addition, it can help to prove negligence in any ensuing legal claims.

What Happens if You Commit a Hit and Run?

If you are involved in an accident and leave the scene, you could be held criminally liable and face severe penalties depending on the circumstances of the accident and the damages caused. Possible penalties for leaving the scene of an accident include:

    • An accident with a vehicle that’s unattended. Some accidents occur with a vehicle that is unoccupied, such as one parked on the side of the road or in a parking lot. Failure to leave your information with the unattended vehicle could result in a charge of a class A misdemeanor. This could be penalized by a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $2,500.
    • Accidents that lead to property damage. If your accident involves property damage and you leave the scene, you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
    • An accident resulting in injuries. If your accident causes injury to another and you leave the scene but contact the police, it could be considered a class 4 felony, depending on the severity of the injuries. If convicted, the penalties could include up to three years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Your license may also be revoked.However, if you leave the accident area and fail to report the accident, the charges could increase to a class 2 felony with prison time resulting between three and seven years and a maximum fine of $25,000.
    • Accidents resulting in death. If you are involved in an accident that results in the death of another, you could be found guilty of a class 4 felony, resulting in imprisonment for up to three years, fines up to $25,000, and a revocation of your license.
      If you leave the scene in this instance without reporting the accident to the police, you could be found guilty of a class 1 felony, resulting in imprisonment between four and 15 years, a maximum of $25,000 in fines, and the revocation of your license.

The circumstances of the accident will impact the exact charges and penalties the driver could face. No matter the circumstances a driver may encounter or the legal troubles they may wish to avoid, it is never ok to leave the scene of an accident. Accidents are called such because they are typically not malicious in nature and are a matter of circumstances. However, leaving the scene becomes a malicious decision by which one should be held accountable.

What Should I Do if I Am the Victim of a Hit and Run?

If you are involved in an accident in which the driver of another vehicle leaves the scene, there are important steps you should take to not only protect yourself but to prepare for any future legal action you may wish to pursue. You will quickly be filled with a variety of emotions, so you are going to want to stay calm and work through the following process:

    • Call for emergency services. If you are injured and are able to, contact medical personnel who can come to the accident scene and provide you with medical services. Be sure you also report to 911 that the other driver failed to stop and you were in a hit-and-run accident. This will ensure the police arrive and begin an investigation.
    • Gather information. You may be slightly disoriented, but try to recall as many details as possible about the other driver or the description of their vehicle. Try to remember what direction the driver may have fled. If you are able, try to photograph the scene. If you are being medically transported, request emergency personnel photograph the scene or a nearby witness with whom you can exchange contact information.
    • Identify witnesses. Speaking of witnesses, try to identify points where someone may have witnessed the accident. This could be from a nearby business, a public bus stop, or other drivers who were near you and may have stopped. Be sure to refer them to any police who arrive on the scene and collect their contact information for your own records. Your attorney can use this information later.

It is important that if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in the Lake County area, you stay at the scene of the accident. Do not attempt to locate or follow the driver, who may have fled the scene. Do not leave the scene until police arrive unless you are told by medical personnel it is life or death that you leave. Leaving the scene or delaying the report to the police could cause doubt to arise in your accident report.

Recovering Damages After a Hit and Run

After you have properly reported the accident and received any necessary medical treatment, it is important that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can help to recover damages that you may be owed. The cost of repairs to your vehicle, the cost of medical expenses, any lost wages, and other damages that result from the accident could be recovered.

One important item to remember is that even if you never locate the driver who fled, you may still be entitled to compensation from your insurance company as they may include a policy that helps to protect you in the result of such accidents. Coverages that you may have include:

    • Coverage for uninsured motorists. Insurance companies are bound to provide this type of coverage in all automobile insurance. This type of coverage protects you in the case of an accident with another driver who is uninsured or who cannot be located after an accident.
    • Personal injury protection. More commonly referred to as PIP, this type of coverage can provide up to $10,000 for motorists who may sustain an injury or property damage in an accident. However, the specifics of what is covered are governed by your individual insurance policy.
    • MedPay. This coverage provides compensation for some medical expenses if you are injured in an accident. This protection often extends to any passengers who may be in your vehicle as well.

After an investigation into your hit-and-run accident, an attorney from Lake County, Illinois can help you recoup the compensation that you may be entitled to.

Common Accident Injuries

The injuries you may suffer in a car accident can vary and can range from minor to severe. When you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it can mean a delay in medical help as the other driver is unable to render aid, but it could also cause emotional distress in wondering how you may pay for the damages for your injuries. Common injuries suffered in an accident include:

    • Brain and head injuries. While some head and brain injuries are considered minor, like a concussion, some brain injuries could result in permanent damage. Some brain injuries could result in a coma, loss of nerve function, or even death. Unfortunately, brain injuries can also be delayed in their onset, meaning you may not know immediately if there is a medical concern.
    • Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries. The most common injury in an accident is a neck injury known as whiplash. Unfortunately, more severe injuries can occur as well, such as spinal cord injuries causing paralysis. These types of injuries often result in high medical expenses and require long-term medical care. You may need to participate in physical therapy or have ongoing doctor visits.
    • Fractured or broken bones. While treating a broken bone could mean nothing more than wearing a cast for a period of time, this injury can have significant impacts on your ability to work your job or complete other daily tasks. You may even need to have surgery to reset the bones.
    • Internal injuries. Not every injury is visible or known immediately. Sometimes an internal injury can occur that takes time to appear or show signs that something is wrong. These types of injuries highlight the importance of receiving a medical exam after an accident to ensure there are no unknown injuries. With these injuries, you may need to have surgery or could need medications to help heal.

These are only a few of the types of injuries you could suffer in an accident. Other forms of injuries could happen and the location of the injury on your body could also play a role in the amount of medical attention you may need immediately and ongoing. No matter what, after an accident, seek the help of a medical professional who can help evaluate any injuries you may have suffered.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Hit and Run in Illinois?

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it may bring peace of mind to know that the driver who left the scene could be criminally prosecuted at any time. Illinois does not have a statute of limitations on criminal prosecution of hit-and-run drivers. Your opportunity to bring a civil case against the alleged driver does have a time limit, though.

In Illinois, all car accidents have a statute of limitations of two years to bring any claim against another party involved. If you fail to file within the two-year limitation, you could lose your right to file a claim permanently. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to seek the help and advice of an attorney as quickly as possible to ensure you don’t miss out on the compensation you may be entitled to.

Lake County Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys

A car accident can be jarring and fill you with a variety of emotions, but not all accidents are the same. When the accident involves a hit and run, you may feel confused, angry, and unsure about what to do next. You may be left with medical expenses or lost wages from work as a result of the accident with no one to hold accountable. No matter the circumstances of your accident, let the attorneys of Franks Gerkin Ponitz & Greeley help. Contact our offices today.

Translate »