Hit and Run Victims Attorney in Boston
A hit and run can be one of the most serious and devastating types of motor vehicle accidents. Many hit-and-run accidents involve pedestrians and bicyclists, who are vulnerable to the damage that a speeding motor vehicle can inflict. As a result, hit-and-run victims often suffer serious injuries like paralysis, traumatic brain injuries or limb amputations or even death.
In addition to taking a physical toll, being a victim of another driver’s negligence can be emotionally and financially draining. When an at-fault driver flees the scene, there’s no one for the victim to blame. Who will pay for the cost of medical treatment, vehicle repair and lost wages?
The Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman understand the challenges of dealing with all types of hit-and-run accidents, including:
- Drunk-driving accidents
- High speed collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact and sideswipe collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Distracted driving accidents, including accidents involving cellphones
Regardless of the specifics of your hit-and-run accident, it’s critical for you as a hit-and-run victim to hire an experienced and aggressive hit-and-run victim attorney in Boston to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for all of your injuries.What is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident is any accident in which a vehicle hits a person, object or other vehicle and the driver knowingly leaves the accident scene without providing contact and insurance information.
These type of accidents run the gamut from minor to severe. An example of a minor hit-and-run accident is a driver hitting a parked car in a parking lot and scratching the paint or causing a dent, and then driving off before anyone has a chance to discover the damage and identify the car.
A more serious type of hit and run is a driver striking a vulnerable pedestrian or bicyclist on a roadway or in a crosswalk and speeding away from the scene to avoid being identified.Hit-and-Run are Crashes on the Rise
Here’s a staggering statistic: According to 2018 information from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run accident occurs every minute on roads in the United States. These accidents resulted in 2,049 deaths in 2016, which is the highest number on record and a 60% increase since 2009.
AAA researchers also found that:
- An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes have occurred each year since 2006.
- Approximately 65% of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Almost 20% of all pedestrian deaths in the past 10 years were caused by hit-and-run crashes.
- Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2% every year since 2009.
In Massachusetts, penalties for hit-and-run accidents vary depending upon the circumstances of the accident. For example, a driver who causes damage to a vehicle or other property and leaves the accident scene has committed a misdemeanor offense under Massachusetts law. If the driver is found guilty, he or she would be subject to a small fine, imprisonment of no more than two years or both.
It’s also a misdemeanor offense for a driver to knowingly strike or otherwise cause injury to another person and drive away from the scene. If convicted, the driver faces a mandatory prison sentence of at least six months, or a fine of up to $1,000.
Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident that results in the death of another person is a felony offense in Massachusetts. If convicted, the driver faces imprisonment in a state prison, jail or house of correction, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
You can read more about state laws pertaining to a driver’s failure to stop after a collision here.Examples of Hit-And-Run Accidents in Massachusetts
CBS Boston has reported on the following hit-and-run accidents in the greater Boston area:
- An SUV sideswiped two teens riding horses in East Bridgewater in November 2019.
- An 85-year-old man was killed in a hit and run in Taunton in November 2019. He was believed to be in a crosswalk when he was struck.
- A motorcyclist was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Everett in October 2019.
- A motorist struck four children who were standing with their bikes in front of a house in Stoneham in October 2019.
These four incidents highlight how different hit-and-run incidents can be from one another.Common Types of Hit-and-Run Injuries
Injuries caused by hit-and-run drivers can be serious and devastating, especially if the victim is a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Here are some common types of injuries that result from hit-and-run accidents:
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Oftentimes, an injury will appear to be minor in nature immediately after an accident. However, the true severity of an injury might not be discovered until weeks or even months after an accident. What initially was believed to be a minor injury can have a major impact on a person’s life and result in chronic pain and other long-lasting conditions.
A hit-and-run victims attorney in Boston will help you properly evaluate the severity and impact of your injury and prevent you from prematurely settling your claim for less than you deserve.Why Would a Person Leave the Scene of an Accident?
There are many reasons why a driver would leave the scene of an accident, including:
- The driver does not have car insurance.
- The driver does not have a valid driver’s license.
- The driver has been drinking or using drugs.
- There’s a warrant out for the driver’s arrest.
- The car is stolen.
- The driver was street racing or driving in an aggressive manner.
- The driver is young and made a foolish, spur-of-the-moment decision.
- The driver panicked.
Here are some dos and don'ts for handling hit-and-run accidents courtesy of State Farm Insurance Co.:
Do get as much information about the fleeing driver and car as possible, and about the accident in general. This includes:
- The other vehicle’s license plate number
- The other vehicle's make, model and color
- A description of damage to the other vehicle
- The direction the other vehicle was headed
- Photos of the damage to your vehicle
- The location, time and cause of the accident
Don’t follow the fleeing driver as this could place you in a risky position. Any kind of car chase could be dangerous, as could confronting a driver knowingly leaving an accident scene.
In addition, if you drive off after the other driver, you’ll miss your chance of obtaining contact information from any witnesses at the scene, and the police could question whether you’re to blame for the accident. In these types of cases, witness information is critical, especially if the hit and run occurred when you weren’t with your vehicle.
If the police haven’t arrived on the scene, you need to call them. The police will document the accident, and the police report will serve as a crucial piece of evidence in your hit-and-run case.
You should also seek medical treatment as soon as possible.Contact an Experienced Hit-and-Run Victim’s Attorney in Boston
After you’ve contacted the police and received medical treatment, you should speak with an experienced hit-and-run victim’s attorney in Boston about the steps to take to obtain compensation for your injuries. A personal injury attorney will help you understand your rights under the law, review your options, and deal with your insurance company on your behalf to make sure you get the full amount of any benefits owed. If the at-fault driver isn’t identified, your claim most likely will be handled as an uninsured motorist claim.
However, drivers fleeing the scene of an accident are often identified through forensic technology, surveillance cameras or cellphone videos or photos. In these cases, drivers are subject to both civil and criminal prosecution.
A hit-and-run victims attorney in Boston will help you stay up to date with the criminal case and educate you about any available state or federal victim's resources. Although the judge in the criminal case could order the driver to pay restitution, you can still pursue a civil judgment separately to fully compensate you for your injuries.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman has successfully handled hit-and-run cases and other car accident cases on behalf of individuals in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Lawrence and other areas of Massachusetts. Our attorneys are equipped to help all hit-and-run victims, including motorists, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians whose lives have been turned upside down by a fleeing driver’s negligence.