Hit and run – leaving the scene of any vehicle-involved accident in Kentucky – is a serious offense. Kentucky traffic laws require that any person involved in a crash or pedestrian accident remain at the scene. Depending on the circumstances and injuries associated with the accident, the penalties for leaving a crash scene in Kentucky can range from paying a very large fine to spending time in jail, or even prison, especially if there are injured victims or the driver was intoxicated.
The motor vehicle accident lawyers at the Billy Johnson Law Firm represent victims and their families and friends in Kentucky who suffered serious bodily injuries or a wrongful death due to the negligence of a hit-and-run driver.
The legal duties of all drivers involved in a car wreck in the state of Kentucky are clearly outlined under traffic law KRS §189.580, It states that all drivers “shall immediately stop and ascertain the extent of the injury or damage and render reasonable assistance.” It also states that the vehicle operator “shall give the occupant of the vehicle, person struck, (or law enforcement) if requested, the registration number of their vehicle, and also the names and addresses of the owner, the occupants, and operator.”
A hit-and-run car accident can be devastating for the victims of these crimes. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:
- One in ten of all reported accidents involve at least one driver who leaves the scene.
- Around 1,500 people die every year in hit-and-run accidents.
- Most hit-and-run accidents happen on weekends or late at night.
In 2014, according to the Governor’s office, there were over 11,500 hit-and-run accidents in Kentucky, killing nine people and injuring 959.
The Challenges of Financial Compensation When a Hit-and-Run Driver Strikes
There are two primary problems that victims of hit-and-run drivers commonly encounter. Even if law enforcement tracks them down later – because damages are owed for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income and even wrongful death expenses if a loved one was killed – they don’t have insurance to pay the damages they owe.
Second, even though it’s just as serious, it’s no better than 50/50 that the driver will be arrested and tried for his or her crime and found guilty. So your best bet when you’re a victim of a hit-and-run driver is to seek compensation through your own insurance company.
If you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), you at least have a process to seek that compensation. Whether or not you are awarded money by your insurer to pay for all your medical bills and other damages, including wrongful death, depends on the terms of your policy, its coverage limits, and your insurance carrier’s agenda – because not all insurance companies are created equal.
Why You Might Need an Injury Attorney if You are the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident
Some insurers are reputable. Hopefully, you have chosen yours wisely to handle your UM/UIM claim. But this is a fact about insurance companies that you need to keep in mind: They are in the business of taking in premiums and paying out as little as they can in claims. None of them like paying out. And many rely on NOT paying claims to stay in business. You might be denied immediately after you file. Or your insurance adjusters might drag their feet, ask you tons of useless questions to delay their denial, keep losing paperwork and eventually offer a settlement that is only a portion of your rightful coverage. All these are signs they aren’t going to willingly pay you the compensation that is rightly yours, even though you’ve paid for it – each and every month.
This is when you need a seasoned accident injury lawyer to help you recover every rightful penny you are owed by your insurer, or the insurance company of the hit-and-run driver, if law enforcement has been successful in tracking him down.
If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist protection (UIM) on your insurance policy, we can help make sure you are fully compensated for damages. If the at-fault driver was charged by law enforcement (or we find them ourselves), we can help you pursue a claim. There may also be other options we can pursue for you.If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries by a hit-and-run driver, call southeast Kentucky’s Billy Johnson Law Firm at 606-433-0682, or fill out this online form to arrange a free consultation and learn how we can help you.