Understanding Damages after a Hit and Run Accident That Leads to a Fatality

Categories: Wrongful Death

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In a typical motor vehicle accident, you have one party at fault and another party who is the victim. The victim can seek compensation from that at fault party through an insurance claim or lawsuit. In these cases, the victim receives damages.

Damages are a form of compensation that helps restore the victim’s financial health to a level close to that before the accident.

While this is standard practice, what happens when the party who caused the fatal accident performed a hit-and-run?

In a hit and run, the party responsible has fled the scene of the accident. Sometimes, they are still caught that same day or a few weeks later. Other times, they are never found.

Should a family that has recently lost a loved one in a hit-and-run accident have to deal with the costs? Are there ways to receive compensation to cover the medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral costs?

Luckily, loved ones who are in this situation still have rights. And whether the at-fault party is found or not, there are ways to recover compensation.

What Happens after a Bellingham Fatal Hit and Run Accident?

If you have lost a loved one in a hit and run accident, most likely, a police report was already filed at the time of the accident. This provides your attorney with information about the crash and the potential suspects. An attorney may be able to inquire about the pending investigation and the progress law enforcement has made in identifying the driver (if they have not yet identified them).

The reasons drivers commit hit-and-runs vary. Sometimes, they are under the influence and flee to avoid another DWI charge. Other times, they know that they have no insurance. Therefore, they flee the scene to avoid paying out of their pocket. Also, a person might have stolen a car and been in the process of escaping from another crime.

Lastly, a driver might have been scared. They did not intend to leave someone on the side of the road, but they fled out of fear of the situation.

Regardless of the reasons why they fled the scene, realize that police are often good at catching the party that caused the accident. They have tools at their disposal to investigate, and eventually, they can find the party who caused the fatal crash.

Working with an Experienced Attorney Is Key

Even if the investigation is pending, hiring an attorney might prove beneficial in your case. After a fatality from a hit and run, you are already suffering financial losses along with the emotional pain. An attorney with wrongful death experience understands what you and your grieving loved ones are going through, and they can help you recover damages for:

  • Medical bills from the accident
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral or burial costs
  • Loss of companionship

You have options, even if the driver is never found. Therefore, do not assume that you must go through life covering these financial expenses without help.

The loss of someone, especially when you are unsure how they passed, leaves a significant hole in your family. When a negligent motorist or party contributes to that accident, you want justice. Without that justice, you might feel unable to cope with the loss and are worried about compensation.

While no monetary amount will recover the loss of a loved one, the goal of compensation is to help restore financial security to you and your family.

Finding Compensation When the Driver Gets Away

When the driver has not yet been found, you have options. The ideal option is to make the at-fault party pay for your losses, whether through their assets or their insurance. However, when this is not possible, you can seek compensation through other sources, including:

  • Homeowner’s Insurance Policies – The deceased might have a homeowner’s insurance policy that offers coverage for situations just like these. You can inquire about benefits and the compensation value available to beneficiaries of the policy.
  • Life Insurance – If your loved one had a life insurance policy, you might be able to receive funds from that policy if you are the designated beneficiary. You can use these funds any way you like, including medical costs, covering living expenses, and so forth.
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage – If the accident involved a motor vehicle and your loved one had underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, then you may be able to file a claim with the automobile insurance company for compensation. The compensation is limited to the maximum policy amount on the plan.
  • Accidental Death and Injury Policies – Most jobs offer accidental death and dismemberment policies to workers, and some auto and home policies do as well. These can provide supplemental compensation after the death of loved ones and fill in the gaps between other options.

If the Driver Is Found Later

You can still seek compensation while the investigation is pending so that you can recover medical costs and living expenses. If the driver is caught later on, you can then seek compensation through that party’s insurance company.

When you use insurance policies, you are restricted to the type of compensation you can seek. You may not receive the full damages you and your family deserve due to policy limitations. Therefore, if the responsible party is found, holding them financially accountable ensures your loved ones receive the full compensation they deserve.

Speak with a Wrongful Death Attorney Now

If you lost a loved one in an accident and the party who caused that accident left the scene, you still have options to cover your family’s expenses and help you move on from this tragic event.

Let the advocates at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC, assist you with your case. Our attorneys understand the traumatic events you have been through, and we will look for every opportunity to help restore your family’s financial health so that you have one less burden working against you.

Get started by scheduling a free consultation with one of our attorneys; call or request more information online.

Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner has a proven track record of success. Following his graduation from Willamette University with a double major in mathematics and economics, Matt worked as an economist for the Office of Economic Analysis for the State of Oregon before moving onto working in mortgage banking and real estate.