hit and run lawyers
Legal Areas

Hit and Run Lawyers


If you’ve been injured in an auto accident where the driver responsible for your injuries suddenly fled the scene, then you may have been made the victim of a hit and run. Experienced hit and run lawyers can help you to navigate the unique challenges (and opportunities) typical of these sorts of hit and run accidents and collisions.

That being said, we understand that it can be rather overwhelming and confusing to move forward with a legal dispute, even if you know that you have a reasonable claim for damages. So if you’d like to learn more about some of the basics of hit and run accidents and related disputes, we encourage you to read on!

What is a hit and run, exactly?

Any time that an individual is involved in a hit and run accident in which property damage or injury has been caused, then the law requires that the individual stop and provide the other parties identifying information (i.e., name, license, phone number, address, etc.). Doing so is important so that the injured parties can move forward with the legal process and secure whatever compensation they’re owed under the law.

Failure to stop and provide the information before fleeing the scene of a traffic accident is considered a “hit and run” and comes with substantial civil and criminal penalties. If you’ve been the victim of a hit and run accident, don’t give up hope — there may be opportunities for you to sue and recover the damages you need to cover your losses (whether through a claim with the insurance company, a negotiated settlement, trial, or some other means).

Countering the hit and run defense arguments

In hit and run accidents, you might find that the at fault driver argues that they were justified in fleeing the scene. There are a few potential reasons for doing so:

  • It was unsafe for the driver to come to a stop nearby
  • Stopping nearby would have unreasonably impeded traffic
  • The driver had a spontaneous emotional/mental reaction that prevented them from stopping their vehicle as required by law
  • And more

For example, suppose that the driver who hits you attempts to claim that they could not stop nearby because they worried that an angry crowd was gathering after the accident and that they would be attacked by the crowd.

This may be a reasonable concern, but then the driver would have to take steps to contact you after they have gotten to safety — perhaps they could have noted your license plate number, or they could have contacted law enforcement authorities later on and notified them that they got involved in a car accident on a particular roadway (so that it could be used as identifying information for the injury victim to find).

As a general rule, hit and run defense arguments can be difficult to navigate around, but with skilled hit and run lawyers by your side, you’ll have the tools necessary to potentially counterargue against the more common defenses.

What are the unique challenges of a hit and run accident lawsuit?

In a hit and run accident lawsuit, there are a number of unique challenges to be aware of as you move forward with your case. Primarily, however, you’ll be dealing with the challenge of identifying the defendant-driver who fled the scene of the accident — after all, if you can’t identify who they are, then you won’t be able to sue them and thereby force them to appear in court.

It is important to have UM (uninsured motorist coverage) or UIM (underinsured motorist coverage) from your own insurance company to protect against scenarios where the at-fault driver is unidentified and you’ve sustained a personal injury.

Identifying the hit and run driver can be quite difficult, depending on the circumstances. You can take steps to identify a hit and run driver by having your attorney:

  • Gather photo and video footage of the scene of the accident
  • Speak to eyewitnesses about what happened
  • Work with law enforcement for identification purposes
  • Work with a private investigator
  • Work with an accident reconstruction expert to evaluate the collision scene
  • And more

Once the driver has been identified, you can bring a lawsuit against them to seek the compensation you deserve.

What are the unique opportunities of a hit and run accident lawsuit?

As the injury victim in a hit and run lawsuit, you do enjoy certain advantages as compared to most other disputes involving car accidents. In most lawsuits, it benefits you — the injured plaintiff — to appear sympathetic to the court/jury, and for the defendant (i.e., the party responsible for your losses) to appear less sympathetic.

In hit and run cases, hiring knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys can guide the claim toward a satisfactory settlement.

Those who flee the scene of an accident are generally seen as irresponsible, selfish, and of poor moral character. Courts and juries tend to be biased against these defendants. As such, you’ll be able to apply a great deal of strategic leverage when attempting to negotiate a settlement compromise. This can lead to early and favorable settlement outcomes.

How much can I be compensated in the event of a hit and run accident?

In the event that you’re injured in a hit and run accident, you can claim damages for a variety of different losses. Claimable losses include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property loss
  • Medical expenses (i.e., medical bills for medical treatment)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

Hit and run injuries can significantly impact a person’s ability to work, leading to potential financial compensation.

Damages can vary quite a bit from case-to-case. For example, if you’re unemployed at the time of your motor vehicle collision accident, then your lost wages claim is likely to be zero or close to zero. If you are gainfully employed, however, and are forced to take significant time off from work to recover from your injuries, then your wage loss claim will be much higher.

What is the statute of limitations on a hit and run in the USA?

The statute of limitations (i.e., the claim deadline) on a hit and run will differ from state jurisdiction to state jurisdiction.  In California, for example, you’ll have three years (from the date of the injury) to file a lawsuit for your negligence-based injury claims — which would likely apply to your hit and run dispute.  In Illinois, by contrast, you’d only have two years from the date of injury.

There are strict consequences for failing to meet your statute of limitations deadline.  Failing to do so could result in courts automatically dismissing your claim on the basis that you have legally abandoned it or relinquished your right to seek compensation under the law.  Given the high stakes, it’s critical that you work with an experienced hit and run lawyer for assistance as you navigate the dispute process — they are required by law to handle your claims in a timely manner.

Hiring a car accident attorney could cost nothing upfront

Most hit and run lawyers, like other car accident attorneys, offer their services on a contingency basis. That means that working with them doesn’t cost anything upfront or out-of-pocket. Instead, the attorney takes a percentage cut of whatever compensation they’re able to secure on your behalf — this can range anywhere from 25 percent at the low end to 40 percent or more at the high end, depending on what you’re able to negotiate with the attorney (and depending on the phase of litigation in which the case is resolved).

Contingency fee arrangements make it easier for plaintiffs to litigate their claims, as there is no immediate cost associated with pursuing compensation. These sorts of arrangements also make litigation more favorable for the injured plaintiff, as the incentives between attorney and client are more directly aligned. After all, the more you get paid, the more your attorney gets paid. That means they’re incentivized to work efficiently and effectively on your behalf to secure the maximum possible compensation.

If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, then you could be entitled to significant compensation under the law. That being said, it isn’t always straightforward or simple to navigate the legal process, especially in the context of a hit and run. That’s why it’s important to get in touch with experienced hit and run lawyers who can help you move forward and secure the compensation you deserve. Experienced hit and run lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of dealing with insurance companies to secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free legal consultation with local hit and run lawyers in our network. During this initial consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the details of your case and to learn more about what strategic options are available to you. If you decide against working with the network attorney, or if you’d rather not pursue a legal claim at all, that’s perfectly alright — there’s no legal obligation to continue. As such, there’s really no downside to picking up the phone and calling us today to get started.

We look forward to assisting you.

Explore This Page

Swipe >
Contact an Experienced Lawyer

When a hit and run accident occurs, you should consult qualified hit and run attorney as soon as possible. Hit and run accidents require skilled legal representation, as there are a number of unique procedural and investigation-related issues that can pose a challenge.

We can connect you to an experienced attorney who has the skillset and experience necessary to handle your case. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Posted On: July 11, 2024