A car accident is always stressful and disruptive for the victim, but when the person who causes the crash flees the scene the outcome can be even more devastating. Hit and run drivers leave the victim without recourse because the victim cannot file a civil claim against them to recover compensation. If you were involved in a Boston hit and run accident, it is critical for you to understand your rights and the best way to protect yourself.
Earlier this year, Boston police identified a woman who was killed in a car accident by a hit-and-run driver. She was 57-years-old at the time of the crash. There were no witnesses to the accident and the only evidence that the police had was a blurry surveillance video suggesting that a driver in a dark-colored sedan with tinted windows caused the crash.
Massachusetts law makes it a crime to leave the scene of an accident. If the person who fled is later found, the plaintiff may be able to use evidence of the defendant’s failure to remain at the scene of the accident as evidence that he or she was negligent at the time of the accident. Specifically, M.G.L. Ch. 90 Sec. 26 requires drivers to report collisions to the police where the damage that resulted from the collision exceeds $1,000. This requirement is in force even where no one suffered an injury as a result of the crash. For someone who is caught leaving the scene of an accident. M.G.L. Ch. 90 Sec. 24 imposes a criminal penalty of 6 months to 2 years in jail. If the accident resulted in a fatality, the maximum amount of jail time increases to 10 years.
Massachusetts insurance law requires every driver to have at least some level of auto insurance, which provides coverage in the event that you are hit by someone who leaves the scene of the accident. This includes at least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage per person up to $40,000 per accident, in addition to $8,000 personal injury protection per person. Massachusetts also requires drivers to maintain a policy that provides coverage for uninsured motorist accidents. This coverage will also apply to situations where the person who caused the accident flees the scene and cannot be found.
Similarly, underinsured motorist coverage protects you in the event that you are hit by someone who does not have enough coverage to compensate you for your injuries and expenses. This is not required in Massachusetts, but it is usually a good idea considering how expensive medical bills and missed paychecks can be.
If you were injured in a hit and run car accident, we are ready to help you fight for your rights. The Law Office of Michael O. Smith understands how incredibly frustrating and discouraging this situation can be, which is why we will fight zealously on your behalf. We have assisted clients throughout Boston and understand what it takes to secure the judgment or settlement that you deserve in a timely fashion. To schedule your free consultation call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started. Don’t wait, time may be running out on your claim.