Practice AreasHit and Run Injury

Find Safety After Your Accident

In November 2020, a 48-year old woman was walking back home with her niece after doing laundry when she was struck by a speeding car whose driver fled the scene. The accident left her with broken ribs, a broken arm, femur, and wrist. The damage didn’t stop there – one of her lungs collapsed and her brain got injured. Now, no one can predict when her brain injury will heal.

Hit and run accidents can be devastating events that have the potential to snatch away your livelihood and social lifestyle, and perhaps psychologically scar you for the rest of your life.

How does Utah’s law define a hit and run accident?

The law requires any driver involved in an accident to stop the vehicle, report the accident, and stay on the scene, no matter how inconsequential the accident is.

A hit and run accident is defined as an accident in which the driver who causes the accident abandons the scene along with the vehicle. Whether or not the fleeing driver gets identified by the law enforcement department, the accident is classified as hit and run. In the latter case, the vehicle involved in a hit and run accident is referred to as a phantom vehicle.

Our advice to drivers who think of fleeing the scene is to stay, chances are high that they and their vehicles will be caught on camera by a passer-by or a security webcam. If the driver has inflicted injuries, he should call the police and first responders to help the individual that is now hurt.

What are the charges?

If the driver hits and runs, his act becomes a criminal offense.

If the accident results in some property damage, he is looking at a Class B misdemeanor.

If a person has been injured in the accident, the perpetrator-driver is looking at a Class A misdemeanor, which can be escalated to a third-degree felony depending on the severity of the injuries.

What should the victim do?

If possible, the victim should use his cell phone and grab pictures (or a video) of the vehicle/driver. He cannot assume that other bystanders may have clicked pictures of the accident or perhaps the event may have been recorded by a security camera. Remember, that if there is no proof of the accident, the victim cannot claim insurance or damages.

The next steps a victim should follow are:

(a) Report the accident to the law enforcement agency.

(b) Seek medical attention.

(c) If possible, speak to witnesses and get their phone numbers. This is important because witness statements will help in the court case.

(d) Consult an experienced Utah hit and run injury lawyer at White and Garner.

(e) Seek help from the attorneys at Garner Law Firm in filing an insurance claim, following up with witnesses, and claiming damages from the abandoning driver.

Who pays the victim’s medical bills?

If identified, the “phantom” driver is responsible to pay the victim from his insurance policy (or from his pocket).

If not identified, the “phantom” driver is considered as an “uninsured driver.” In this situation, the victim can claim medical expenses from his own insurance company.

In both these situations, you need the help of an experienced and successful personal injury lawyer to ensure that you are not shortchanged.

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