It’s your worst nightmare for your child to be in an accident of any kind. When it’s a hit-and-run accident, it not only leaves your child without immediate help with injuries but also makes holding that person responsible sometimes impossible.
Hit-and-run accidents are infuriating, and when it happens to a minor, especially your child, finding the person that may be responsible for such an accident is vital. But how can you seek restitution when your child becomes the victim of a hit-and-run? What options do you have? We are going to delve deeper into hit and runs and what your next step should be if it happens to one of your loved ones.
A Hit and Run Accident Defined
A hit-and-run accident occurs when you either cause or are involved in a traffic accident in some way and then leave the scene before you can identify yourself to those involved as well as to authorities. A hit-and-run doesn’t have to be an accident involving only a person. It can be with someone’s property as well.
Hit-and-run accidents are extremely serious, no matter where it happens, and it often becomes even more serious when a child is involved. If you are ever in an accident, do not leave the scene. If you feel like you’re in personal danger of some kind by remaining there, go to the closest place you feel safe and immediately call the police.
In Louisiana, when an accident occurs (assuming no medical attention is needed), involved parties need to identify themselves and exchange contact and insurance information. If everyone agrees that a certain person is at fault and information could be exchanged, those involved can leave and call their insurance companies on their own.
If there are injuries involved (including death), NO ONE should leave the accident until police arrive. If you leave the scene of the accident, you could face harsh legal consequences. If the hit-and-run accident resulted in injuries and/or death occurred, the possibility of further penalties is greatly increased.
Is leaving after you have hit another car or someone else’s property considered a hit-and-run? The answer is yes! If no one is around and you don’t know who the owner is, you must leave a note with your contact information as well as call the police to report the accident.
An Accident with a Minor
A minor can be hurt or killed in an accident, just like any adult. The costs involved with injuries or a fatality can be just as or even more expensive. These costs may be high for years, even throughout a child’s life.
Minors can recover for the following if they are involved in an accident, including a hit-and-run accident:
- Disability and/or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Future loss of income (when the minor becomes an adult)
- Other future damages (when the minor becomes an adult)
File a lawsuit or claim with your insurance company to receive reimbursement for physical injuries and pain or suffering. The emotional damage from a hit-and-run can be just as damaging as physical complications. Your child may be scared or get triggered for the rest of their life based on this one accident.
What Parents Can Recover
It seems strange at first, but minors cannot recover past medical bills because they did not pay for them. In most cases, the parent or guardian is the one who has paid these bills, and so the parents/guardian themselves will need to recover those costs. Parents must recover lost wages and any other bills accrued because of the accident on behalf of the minor.
Once the minor is 18, any continued costs resulting from the accident are the responsibility of the injured person, and they can also recover damages for these.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is when you must file your claim by. If you do not file before the statute of limitations runs out, your case may be completely dismissed, and you could lose the chance to obtain any compensation.
The statute of limitations varies according to the type of claim you are filing as well as what state you are filing in. It is up to you to talk to an attorney or do your research to determine your statute of limitations.
In Louisiana, personal injury claims (civil cases) have a statute of limitations of one year. If a child is the one that is hurt, the statute of limitations starts on their 18th birthday and not on the day of the accident. So, the child will have until their 19th birthday to file a personal injury claim even if the accident occurred several years prior.
What Consequences Could Result from a Hit and Run?
The injuries suffered from the accident will determine the consequences you could face. In most states, hit-and-run perpetrators can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor or felony. If serious injuries or death occur because of the accident, the guilty party will typically be charged with a felony. If there is only property damage, a misdemeanor charge is usually made. Both a misdemeanor and a felony could bring fines and jail time with them.
The charges mentioned above don’t even begin to address the claims from the victim (and parents if it’s a minor) of the hit-and-run. There could be thousands of dollars of medical bills, pain and suffering damages, property damage, and more. You could even be hit with punitive damages as a punishment for reckless behavior.
Your Personal Injury Team
If you or a minor have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, you will need legal representation from the proficient team. Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. is here to help you navigate the complex territory that a legal case with a minor brings. You and your child deserve to receive full compensation, especially in the case of a hit and run, which is simply irresponsible and purposefully negligent. Call (504) 522-2304 to schedule your free consultation today.