Hit-and-run accidents claim lives in Illinois each year, but it is possible for families of victims to recover damages if they have uninsured motorist coverage or if the drivers are found. People who elect uninsured motorist coverage on their insurance policies have added protection in place so that they or their loved ones may recover damages when drivers flee.
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Drivers are mandated to remain at the scene of accidents until the police arrive; when they flee, they can be criminally prosecuted. Some hit-and-run drivers are never found, however, leaving victims’ families to struggle with a combination of grief and overwhelming expenses. Wrongful death lawyers in Chicago sometimes work to recover reasonable settlements from their clients’ own insurance companies when they or their loved ones have been the victims of hit-and-run accidents.
Recovering Damages When Drivers Are Caught
When drivers fail to stop at the scene of accidents, they may face criminal penalties that range in severity. When no one is injured, the drivers may face misdemeanor hit-and-run charges. When people are injured by the drivers, the drivers may be charged with Class 2 felonies, facing up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Hit-and-run drivers who flee accidents in which people are killed face sentences of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
While holding hit-and-run drivers criminally liable for their wrongful acts is important, doing so does not provide compensation for the victims and families who suffer losses. Recognizing this, Illinois allows injured victims and families to file civil lawsuits while criminal cases are pending. Civil cases have lower burden-of-proof requirements, making it likelier that victims will recover damages that will fairly compensate them. Wrongful death lawyers in Chicago may advocate for the maximum recovery in cases involving hit-and-run accidents causing deaths.
Recovering Damages When Drivers Get Away
Unfortunately, some hit-and-run cases are never solved. This may leave victims without a basis for recovery. If they have uninsured motorist coverage on their policies, they may be able to recover compensation from their own insurance companies. Wrongful death lawyers in Chicago may negotiate on their clients’ behalf with their insurance companies to secure fair compensation for all of their losses.
To protect your loved ones, it is most important for every citizen to purchase Uninsured coverage at the highest amount you can afford. Many drivers in Cook County and elsewhere have minimum insurance coverage and by purchasing your own Uninsured and Underinsured coverage at high levels you can guarantee that your loved one will be adequately compensated for their injuries.