It’s one of those nightmare accident scenarios. You’re minding your own business, driving safely, when suddenly you’re struck by another vehicle. If it stops at all, the driver decides to keep on going. Your vehicle may have been severely damaged and you seriously injured. You may not have a good description of the vehicle, let alone a license plate number.
Hit-and-run accidents are common in New Jersey.
- A 27-year old Newark resident faces a number of criminal charges in connection with a June car accident. He’s accused of driving without a license, striking and injuring a police officer and fleeing from the scene, according to nj.com.
- An unidentified person was found dead on a Maplewood street in June, apparently struck by a vehicle that left the scene, reports nj.com. The male was found at the intersection of Wyoming Avenue and Hickory Drive early in the morning.
- A hit-and-run driver seriously injured a bicyclist in Camden in June, according to nj.com. City resident Felemone Negrete-Ponce was the victim who was struck on the Black Horse Pike near Pershing Avenue. A 68-year-old Haddon Heights man, Richard Bennett, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and endangering an injured victim. He turned himself in to police the following day.
A driver may leave the scene for any number of reasons:
- Fear of arrest, especially if the person has a prior criminal record or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- May be so impaired that he or she didn’t realize an accident occurred
- Honestly didn’t realize an accident took place.
Whether you’re driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle or walking as a pedestrian, if you’ve suffered injuries by an unknown hit-and-run driver you should be able to obtain at least partial coverage of your losses from your auto policy (or maybe one held by an immediate family member). Since you don’t know who hit you and you can’t put a claim in against his or her policy, you’ll have to use your own.
This is why it’s critically important for you to purchase as much under-insured/uninsured motorist coverage as you can when you buy your insurance policy. It should cover this type of situation. If you have health insurance, you can use that to pay your medical expenses. If you were on the job at the time of the accident, you could also file a workers’ compensation claim.
Another option may be a special fund known as the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association. It may provide benefits to lessen the effects of a loss for those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves without insurance coverage.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in New Jersey, schedule a free consultation with our office by calling us at (973) 358-6134 or by using our online quick connect form. Statutes of limitations apply, so contact us as soon as possible so you can learn about your legal rights and take action to protect your interests.