In a perfect world, every person would take accountability for their actions, all parties in an accident would carry adequate insurance and exchange information, and victims would never have to worry about how they will cover their medical expenses or vehicle repairs. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect, as indicated by a hit-and-run accident involving an Illinois police officer.
The crash occurred in Hammond, Illinois, and seriously injured a motorcycle rider. The police officer, a 13-year veteran of the Evanston Police Department, was driving his personal vehicle, and was subsequently charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury. The case is currently pending.
Hit-and-Run Accidents on the Rise
The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that nearly 1,500 hit-and-run accidents occurred in 2011. This is a notable increase over the course of three years (1,274 in 2009 and 1,393 in 2010). Even more concerning is that, despite the fall in overall traffic deaths, the deaths resulting from hit-and-run accidents increased by 13.7 percent over that same time period. Approximately 60 percent of those involved the death of a pedestrian, and alcohol was found to be a major contributing factor, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Difficulties Seeking Compensation
Unfortunately, because there is a high risk of fraud (drivers hitting an object and then claiming they were the victim of a hit-and-run), and because it may not always be possible to track down the other driver, victims of hit-and-run accidents often experience difficulty when trying to seek compensation for their medical bills and vehicle repairs. Moreover, the state of Illinois does not permit property damage from a hit-and-run accident to be covered under an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. Instead, they must rely on their personal injury protection (if they have it), medical payments coverage, and collision coverage.
Tips to Follow After a Hit-and-Run Accident
The best way to protect yourself in the event of a hit-and-run accident is to know how to effectively handle the situation. First, you should never attempt to drive after someone; this could place you at unnecessary risk for experiencing another accident. Secondly, you should collect as much information as you can, including:
- License plate number of the other vehicle;
- Make and model of the other vehicle;
- Date/time/location of the accident;
- Photos of any damage to your vehicle experienced during the accident;
- Photos of the accident scene;
- Any description you may have of the driver;
- Police reports;
- Copies of your medical bills/related expenses; and
- Documentation of any time missed from work/school.
Get Help With Your Hit-and-Run Accident Claim
Whether your vehicle was hit while driving by a driver who left the scene or damaged while parked and unattended without any contact information from the other driver, you can and should seek compensation for damages or injuries you sustain. Unfortunately, this can be a complex and difficult process, particularly in hit-and-run situations. Seek assistance from a skilled Kane County hit-and-run accident attorney. Call 630-907-0909 and schedule your free initial consultation with Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C. today.