A 59-year-old man stopped to help a motorist and another vehicle struck and killed him then fled the scene. According to witnesses of the crash, a black sedan, possibly a mid 90’s Hyundai, left the roadway and struck the man who had earlier placed in car partially in the right lane to protect them when they loaded the washer.
Police say that the sedan left the roadway and struck the man while he was helping others and then fled the scene. Unfortunately, he was pronounced dead at the site by the Bell County Coroner. Police are asking for help from the public in finding the black sedan which is missing a headlight, a passenger’s side mirror and should have damage to the front end.
Crashes where an involved driver leaves the scene is a felony (if someone was injure) and is on the increase in the last decade. This is going against the decades-long downward trend of decreases in traffic fatalities in almost all categories. According to the American Automobile Association, there are over 600,000 hit and run crashes every year and over 2,000 deaths.
The vast majority of the hit-and-run deaths were pedestrians with many being motorists who got out to help or were themselves in a crash and had gotten out of their car.
When a person is hit by a car and is unprotected such as a cyclist or a pedestrian, the injuries are far more likely to be severe than if the victim had been in a vehicle. This is because of a typical passenger vehicle weighs 3,500 to 4,000 lbs which outweighs the average person by over 25 times.
This coupled with the impact being directly on the person instead of being absorbed by another similarly weighted vehicle, means that severe injuries are very likely. Some of the common injuries EMS and hospital workers see with a hit-and-run victim are:
Traumatic Brain Injury
- Brain Damage
- Organ Damage
- Lung Punctures
- Compound Fractures
Who will Pay?
Many victims of a hit-and-run wonder who is going to pay for all the financial losses. With a typical accident, the at-fault driver is on the hook for all damages related to the crash. Medical bills, rehab, medical equipment, pain and suffering, disability, lost wages and more are compensable.
However, if the at-fault driver has fled, then then the victim is left with all those losses. There are some sources of compensation available if the victim has their own auto insurance:
- Medpay: This is a provision that drivers can get on their own policy that will pay for medical bills regardless of who is at fault or who is injured so long as the insured or their vehicle is involved.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This works similar to medpay, but it pays medical bills and other damages like pain and suffering and loss of wages. It also pays out regardless of who was injured or at fault so long at the insured or their vehicle is involved.
- Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM): Most insurance policies have uninsured/underinsured provisions that will pay those covered by the policy for all personal injury damages if the other driver is underinsured or has no insurance. This can include when a hit-and-run driver is never found, so long as they were at fault in the accident.
If the Driver is Found do I Have to Pay Back the Money?
If the driver is found and has insurance, then you will have to pay back your own insurance company in most cases. It’s called subrogation, and it’s a right of the insurance company to recover their losses when they pay out from an accident.
However, some insurance companies don’t seek subrogation (rare, but possible), and in most cases, the amount that you will have to pay back will be less than what you would recover from the at-fault driver. For example, if your policy paid out on your medpay provision, they could subrogate the medical bills, but you would then get all the rest of the money for things like pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.
Talk to an Attorney Today
Many wonder if you need an attorney if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver, and in almost all cases the answer is yes. At the least, talk to an attorney at a free consultation so you can be advised on all sources of compensation for your injuries. If your own insurance company has already paid out on some of your bills, and then they found the at-fault driver, then you should also see an attorney who can help you steer through the subrogation laws and get compensated fully.
The attorneys at Kaufman and Stigger, PLLC, will give you the unbiased truth about your case and have a combined 100 years’ experience in helping clients get the results they deserve. To discuss your case, call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC today, at (800) 937-8443 or click here to contact them online.