Winnebago County Hit and Run Car Accident Attorneys

There isn’t a single day that passes where we don’t see or hear about a hit-and-run car accident on the news. These accidents plague the United States, sometimes with devastating consequences that leave behind grieving families or severely injured victims. The emotional experience of being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be just as great as the physical injuries suffered,which can make it difficult to focus on anything outside of your recovery strategy. This is why Illinois car accident and personal injury lawyers exist. They can help you navigate the complex legal system and seek the compensation you deserve while you focus on your physical and emotional healing.

McHenry County Hit and Run Car Accident Attorneys

Legal Representation for Hit-and-Run Accident Victims in Winnebago County

At Franks Gerkin Ponitz & Greeley, we have the experience necessary to take on the insurance companies and at-fault drivers who try to avoid responsibility for their actions. We understand that being involved in a hit-and-run accident is a traumatizing experience, and that drives our commitment to providing compassionate and personalized representation for our clients.

Our team of knowledgeable Winnebago County car accident lawyers will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation possible for your damages to enable you to move on with your life. If you are ready to discuss your case with a member of our team, connect with us as soon as you can to provide details of your accident.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

The first action you should take following a hit-and-run car accident is to get to a safe location and call the police. Once the police arrive, be sure to give them a full account of what happened and provide any information that you have about the other driver, such as a description of their vehicle or license plate number.

Seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Symptoms of whiplash, and many other types of injuries, may not present until after the accident. A medical professional will document the details of your injuries and begin providing you with the treatment.

The next step is contacting an experienced Winnebago County hit-and-run accident lawyer to navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Your lawyer will work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to seek the compensation you deserve. Whether you advance a settlement of your case or go to trial, your lawyer will prepare and present your case in court. The conclusion of both options will result in whatever agreements are made about your compensation and also grant you peace of mind knowing you did everything in your power for the best possible case outcome.

What Are Common Reasons Hit-and-Run Accidents Occur?

There are, unfortunately, many reasons why hit and run accidents occur, but some of the most common include:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: These substances can impair a driver’s judgment and make it more likely for them to flee the scene of an accident rather than face the consequences of their actions. Individuals may feel they can escape detection if they leave the scene before law enforcement arrives, saving them trouble from causing an accident and being caught driving under the influence.
  • Unlicensed or uninsured drivers: If a driver is unlicensed or doesn’t have insurance, they may be more likely to flee an accident scene because they could face more severe penalties if they are caught. Driving without an active license is against the law and would result in a ticket and possible arrest.Being uninsured would mean having to pay for all the damages they have caused out of pocket.
  • Reckless or careless driving: Generally speaking, any reckless or careless driving behavior increases the risk of an accident occurring. If a driver is engaging in this type of behavior and causes an accident, they may be more likely to flee the scene to avoid facing any legal consequences.

What Are the Consequences of Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

You are legally required to stop at the scene of an accident if you were involved in any capacity. This includes stopping to exchange information with the other driver or rendering aid to anyone who was injured. Failing to do this is an automatic crime, and you could face both criminal and civil penalties if you are caught and convicted.

Criminal penalties charged when leaving the scene of an accident can vary depending on the severity of the accident and whether anyone was injured. They can include anything from a traffic ticket to jail time. In addition, you may have your driver’s license suspended or revoked, and your insurance rates will almost certainly go up.

In addition to the criminal penalties you could face, you may also be sued civilly by the other driver or anyone who was injured in the accident. If you are found at fault for the accident, you could be ordered to pay damages to the other driver or injured parties, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

How Can I Protect Myself if I’m Involved in a Hit-and-Run?

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident:

  • Call the police: As soon as the traffic accident happens, call the police and file a report. This will create an official record of the accident and will help to begin the process of finding the other driver.
  • Get witness information: If any witnesses observed the details of the accident, get their phone number to be contacted later by the police, or your lawyer, who can interview them.
  • Take pictures: If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you may have. This will be helpful evidence if you decide to file a legal personal injury claim with your insurance company or advance legal action against the other driver.
  • Get a lawyer: Depending on the accident’s severity, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you better appreciate your rights and options and represent you if you decide to pursue legal charges against the other driver.

What Should I Do If I Think I Know Who the Driver Is?

If you have any information about the driver who fled the scene, you should contact the police and give them whatever information you have. Whether you believe you know the exact identity or only have a partial description, this information can aid the police in their investigation and may help them to find the driver. It is important to remember that you should never try to confront the driver yourself, as this could be dangerous and may hinder the police’s investigation. Additionally, everyone in the United States is innocent until proven guilty. This means that even in scenarios where you are completely sure that someone is the driver, they cannot be officially charged with a crime until the police have gathered enough evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Are Common Injuries Sustained in Hit and Run Motor Vehicle Accidents?

A variety of injuries can be sustained in a hit-and-run accident, some of which are more common than others. A few of the most common injuries include:

  • Whiplash: This neck injury is caused by the sudden jerking of the head and is often seen in rear-end collisions. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. Whiplash is one of the many injuries that may not show symptoms at the time of the accident.
  • Bruises: Bruises can occur when the body is hit by debris or hits something inside the vehicle, such as the steering wheel or dashboard.
  • Cuts: Cuts can be caused by shattered glass, debris on the road, or damaged parts of the vehicle.
  • Broken bones: Broken bones can occur when the body is hit with a lot of force, such as in a high-speed collision.
  • Memory loss: Memory loss can occur as the result of a head injury and can be either temporary or permanent.
  • Mental anguish: Mental anguish is a type of emotional distress that can be caused by the fear, anxiety, and stress of being involved in a hit-and-run accident.

These are only some of the more common injuries that can be sustained in a hit-and-run accident. If you believe you have just experienced a hit and run, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Medical attention is necessary for documentation of injuries and identifying injuries that may not immediately present symptoms.

What Evidence Do I Need to Prove That the Other Driver Was at Fault?

There are a few different types of evidence that can be used to prove that the other driver was at fault. This evidence can be used to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or to take legal action against the driver. The most frequent types of evidence used include:

  • Witness statements: If there were any witnesses to the car crash, their statements can be used to prove that the other driver made a mistake. For example, if a witness saw the other driver run a red light that caused the accident, this would be strong evidence to support your claim that the other driver was at fault.
  • Police reports: Police reports can also be used to support your claim. The police report will contain the officer’s observations of the scene of the accident, as well as any statements that the drivers and witnesses made. The officer’s conclusions about who was at fault for the accident can also be used as evidence.
  • Photographs: Photographs of the scene of the accident can also be used as evidence, particularly if they show skid marks or other evidence that can be used to determine who was at fault. It is important to take as many photos as possible to provide the most complete accounting of the accident.
  • Medical records: Medical records can be used to show the extent of your injuries and the treatment that was required. This can connect the relationship between the accident and your injuries and help prove that the accident was a significant factor in causing your injuries.
  • Security footage: One of the most powerful and indisputable types of evidence is security footage. Check the area around the accident for any businesses or buildings that may have security cameras that would have recorded the accident. If any exists, the footage can show the exact chain of events, bypassing any he-said/she-said arguments about what happened.

What Medical Expenses Might Rack Up After a Hit and Run?

There are a variety of medical expenses that can be incurred after a hit-and-run accident. These expenses can include:

  • Ambulance fees: If you are injured in a hit-and-run, you may need to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. Ambulance fees can be expensive, as it is a mobile form of emergency care. It could be a life-saving investment, however, if you have sustained serious injuries.
  • Emergency room fees: If your injuries are serious, you may need to be treated in the emergency room. Emergency care is frequently cited as one of the most expensive types of medical care, as it’s designed to be quick and effective and bypasses setting up appointments and billing insurance companies.
  • Hospitalization fees: If your injuries are serious enough, you may need to be hospitalized. This could mean staying in the hospital overnight, or it could mean staying for an extended period. Hospitalization fees can be very expensive, as you are essentially paying for a hotel room with 24-hour access to medical care.
  • Doctor’s fees: You will likely need to see a doctor after a hit-and-run accident, even if you are not hospitalized. Doctor’s fees can vary depending on the type of doctor you see, but they are typically less expensive than emergency care or hospitalization.
  • Physical therapy: If you have sustained injuries that require physical therapy, such as whiplash, you will need to pay for this type of care. Physical therapy fees can vary based on the type of therapy you need and how often you need to go.
  • Mental health care: If you have sustained emotional injuries, such as anxiety or PTSD, you may need to seek mental health care. This can include sessions with a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional. Mental health care fees can vary depending on the type of care you need but can be crucial for your recovery.

What Are Some Other Costs Associated with a Hit and Run?

Other costs can be associated with a hit-and-run accident beyond just medical expenses. These costs can include:

  • Car repairs: If your vehicle was damaged in the hit and run, you will need to pay for repairs. The cost of repairs can vary widely, from fixing a broken taillight to completely rebuilding your car. This is an unavoidable expense if you want to get back on the road after your recovery and are ready to drive again.
  • Rental car fees: If your car is not drivable after the accident, you will need to rent a car while it’s being repaired. Rental car fees can add up quickly, especially if you need to rent a car for an extended period.
  • Lost wages: If you are injured and cannot work, you may lose out on wages. This can be a significant cost, especially if you are unable to work for an extended period. If you can work but must miss work for doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions, you may also lose out on wages.
  • Pain and suffering: The physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by a hit and run can be significant. While there is no monetary value that can be placed on this type of suffering,it is still a cost that can be calculated based on the injuries you have sustained and how that has impacted your life.
  • Punitive damages: In some personal injury cases, the Illinois court may award punitive damages to the victim of a hit and run. Punitive damages are designed to reward the victim and punish the driver who caused the accident injury. It is also to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the driver’s actions were particularly egregious, such as driving under the influence or recklessly at the time of the car crash.

All of these costs can be significant, and they can add up quickly. In addition to the diverse medical expenses that can be associated with a hit-and-run, these are all up for debate in a court of law to be reimbursed in the form of damages by the at-fault driver. You and your attorney need to keep track of all the different ways that the hit-and-run has impacted your life so you can be compensated for all your losses.

Tips For Working With a Law Firm After a Hit and Run

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the process of seeking compensation. Here are a few tips when working with a law firm:

  • Make sure you are working with a hit-and-run specialist: Not all law firms are created equal. Some law firms may have experience with car accidents, but not hit-and-runs specifically. When you are looking for a law firm to represent you, make sure you see hit-and-run content on their websites and that they can speak intelligently about the unique challenges that come with these types of cases.
  • Be honest about your injuries: When you are meeting with a potential lawyer, be honest about the injuries you have sustained. Many people downplay their injuries to avoid looking like they are “faking it,” but this can backfire. Your lawyer needs to clearly understand your injuries so they can accurately value your case. Exaggerating your injuries can have a similarly adverse effect on your case.
  • Keep track of your medical expenses: As we’ve discussed, medical expenses can be one of the biggest costs associated with a hit-and-run. Make sure you keep track of all of your medical expenses, including doctors’ visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, and therapy sessions.
  • Keep an open dialogue with your lawyer: Hit-and-run cases can be complex, and they often take time to resolve. Throughout the process, stay connected with your lawyer and keep them updated on your progress. As things change, your lawyer will need to adjust their strategy. The earlier you let them know about changes, the more effectively they can represent you.
  • Be prepared to go to court: In many hit-and-run cases, the at-fault driver will try to deny responsibility. If this happens in your accident case, you may need to take your scenario to court to get the compensation you deserve. Be prepared for this possibility and ensure you are comfortable with your lawyer’s trial strategy.

Hiring a lawyer is an important decision, and you should make sure you are comfortable with the firm you choose. Additionally, being in tune with your responsibilities in the health of your relationship gives you the best opportunity to achieve a successful outcome.

Contact Franks Gerkin Ponitz & Greeley Today

If you or a loved one in Illinois has been the victim of a hit-and-run, you need an experienced team of lawyers on your side. It is not fair that you should have to suffer because of someone else’s negligence, but with the justice system designed to protect against these tragic events, you have leverage.

The legal team at Franks Gerkin Ponitz & Greeley has experience handling hit-and-run cases and will fight to earn you the compensation you deserve. We have already helped many car accident victims get the justice they deserve, and we are ready to help you protect the health and safety of your family. Don’t wait to get started on your case. Contact Franks Gerkin Ponitz & Greeley today to schedule a consultation. We can review your case at great length and help you understand your options. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone, and we will be with you every step of the way.

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