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Hit and run drivers flee the scene of accident because they do not want to be caught and held liable for the accident. The people, who hit and run, mainly do so due to the following reasons:

$1     Under the influence of intoxication

$1     Not having insurance

$1     Driving a stolen vehicle

$1     Driving the vehicle without a license

$1     Driving another person ’s car and the driver does not want that person to know about the accident

$1     Having many traffic violations and outstanding warrants

$1     Engaged in criminal activities

$1     Being an illegal immigrant

Not a Huge Concern

Hit and run or failing to stop and render assistance is a criminal offense and the police are supposed to find the driver who has fled the accident scene. However, the police take such cases as low priority, unless there is a death or the victim has suffered serious injuries. The case is usually assigned to CAPERS (crimes against persons) or to the traffic division.

The Reality

If you have sustained serious injuries and you are able to identify the car or the driver, the police will open a criminal investigation and try to find the driver. When the police are able to verify that the person was indeed the driver who left the accident scene, they will make an arrest. However, in many hit and run accidents, the victim is not in a position to identify the car or the driver, since the event takes place very fast, and the shock of the accident is too much.

Gathering Evidence 

If you are victim in a hit and run accident, and you were not able to identify the driver or take down the number of the car, you can visit the place where the accident took place and ask around if anybody witnessed the accident. Check to see if the accident was recorded on any of the video surveillance cameras installed in the area. Witness statements and video footage is powerful evidence that can help in putting the culprit away in hit and run cases.   

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Punitive damages as the name suggests is intended for punishing the guilty party. However, these damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases, unless the court decides the behavior of the defendant was especially reprehensible that deserves punishment. Since these damages are punitive in nature, they are not associated with any tangible injuries or damages. These damages are not meant for compensating the victim for any particular loss; however, the victim is the one who receives the amount of the awarded punitive damages.

Some Tangible Reasons

In most states, punitive damages are awarded in personal injury cases where there has been gross negligence or intentional misconduct. In some states, acts of deceit, malice, or recklessness are also considered grounds for awarding punitive damages.

Wanton Disregard

An act is considered grossly negligent, when it is done recklessly, and with indifference or with conscious disregard to the safety of others. In comparison, general negligence is disregarding the duty of acting with reasonable care. However, in gross negligence there is an attitude of indifference or recklessness.

Blatant Aggressiveness

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The rationale behind awarding punitive damages is to deter such repugnant or reprehensible conduct amongst people. For instance, a driver intentionally sideswipes another car, because the other car tried to cut him off on the road. In this case, the driver has acted with intentional malice and is not just violating the usual duty of care. In such a situation, the victim should not only be awarded compensatory damages for his injuries and property loss, but also punitive damages, so that the driver is punished for purposefully causing an injury.

In certain states, there is a cap on awarding punitive damages in personal injury cases. For instance, in Florida, the court cannot award punitive damages in excess of three times the compensatory damages awarded to the victim or half a million dollars, whichever is higher. 

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Usually the driver at fault for the accident has to pay for the damages caused to the other car. This will include the cost of repairs to the car, the cost of replacing any part/s of the car, the cost of towing and storing the damaged car, the cost of renting a car until the car is repaired, or the car’s value if it is totaled. However, it is the insurance company of the at-fault driver, who will be covering these costs. 


Value of Your Car

The insurance company of the at-fault driver will pay for repairing your car, unless the worth of your car is less than the cost of repairing it. In such a case, your vehicle is considered “totaled”, and you are entitled to receive the ACV (Actual Cash Value) of your car before it became damaged in the accident. Most insurance companies will estimate the cost of repairs, and if these costs amount to 75% or more of your car’s value, then your car is considered, “totaled”.

A Fair System

The theory behind an ACV is that you should be able to use the money to buy a similar vehicle that you had. However, in actual practice, the insurance company will offer a much lower ACV, and you may have to do your own research to determine the ACV of your car, and negotiate with the insurance company, based on that figure. To determine the ACV, you could research online services such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book, which provide the values of comparable cars.

No Assumptions

You could also look in the classifieds for the price at which similar cars are being sold in your area. Secondly, if you have done extensive repairs or installed new tires, it will be mentioned in the documentation. Armed with all this information you can negotiate a better ACV for your vehicle with the insurance company. But you cannot assume that your car restoration projects will amount to too much more according to the insurance company. No one can actually prove how much more value your car became because of those improvements.

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Surprisingly, many accidents occur in parking lots across the country, and many drivers are not aware whether they have coverage for the damages. Fortunately, most accidents in parking lots are minor and involve damage to the vehicle only. However, you need collision coverage in your insurance, to claim damages for your vehicle, when you are at fault for the collision. When you are not at fault, the other driver’s insurance company will pay for repairing the damage done to your car.

They will also be on the hook for any injuries you sustain which can lead to a long drawn out settlement process. But most likely you would not be too injured in an accident that takes place in a parking lot. This is because normally there is insufficient space for anyone’s car to be going that fast and because it is widely known that parking lots have people walking through them and cars going in and out of the actual parking spaces. Driving fast in an environment such as this is not only foolish it is reckless.

 

Courtesy

Determining who is at fault for a parking lot accident is done the same way, as in any other accident. However, certain rules are unique and apply only to parking lots. In parking lots, the chance of backing into other vehicles is very high. Certain parking lot aisles have proper stop signs while some do not. Certain aisles are considered the main thoroughfares that feed the lanes. Drivers are expected to give way to vehicles that have already entered these thoroughfares. Secondly, drivers are expected to stop and then proceed while switching aisles, even when there are no stop signs.

On the Wrong Side

Parking lots also have quite a bit of pedestrian traffic and there will be hazards like shopping carts or other objects which has been mentioned. As per normal duty of care, all drivers are expected to keep a lookout for pedestrians, and if you knock down a pedestrian in the parking lot, you are assumed to be at fault.

Insurance companies do not treat an accident in a parking lot any differently than an accident, taking place anywhere else, even though the parking lot is private property. If you are found to be at fault for an accident in the parking lot, your insurance company will have to pay the damages to the victims or for repairing their cars. Your premium rates are also likely to go up after any type of at fault accident, parking lot accidents are not an exception. 
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In a personal injury case, the medical records of the victim will be the main evidence for establishing the injuries and getting compensation from the at-fault party. The treatment center or hospital where the victim sought treatment will have the record of bills and all the treatment provided. The advantages of having medical records are:

$1 vIt enables both parties to assess the viability of the case and the seriousness of the physical injuries

$1 vIt enables the victim to calculate damages 

$1 vIt helps in eliminating preexisting injuries or conditions

$1 vIt provides the required legal proof of injuries

An authorization is required for releasing medical records, and it is best to provide such authorization to your lawyer, rather than the adjuster or lawyer of the defendant. In the request for release of your medical records, you will need to mention:

$1 §   Your name and address

$1 §   Your social security number

$1 §   Your patient account number

$1 §   Your date of birth

$1 §   Name of your spouse 

Attention to Detail

 

However, the most important part is to specify whether you want all your records, specific records, or the records covering a certain range of dates. If you are providing authorization to third parties, it is important to give only the records that are concerned with the injuries sustained by you in the accident. If you provide all the records, the adjuster or the defendant ’s lawyer can pick up points from your records that can be used against you or for decreasing the compensation amount. 

They will say that you are hurt partially because you have injured this part of your body before. It does not matter how badly you vehemently disagree with this preposterous statement it does cast some doubt on your case. It allows the court, mediator, and so on to question the validity of your injury. They will know you are injured and their client is probably at fault but not by as much as you would think.

A Considerable Financial Deduction

Whatever amount you thought you were going to receive you may have to considering dropping that by about 10 to 30% depending on how strong the other side can push this medical argument objective. Yes, your medical history is now being employed against you.

You can give signed permission to your attorney for requesting the record on your behalf. The request can be sent by mail or through fax. However, make sure the medical provider confirms receipt of the request. Most medical providers will charge you a fee for releasing the records and posting them to you. Some providers demand these fees in advance and some wait for the payment after the records are released. 
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You will be receiving your compensation check if your case is settled before trial or the trial has produced a decision in your favor. If your case is settled, your attorney will report to the court of such settlement. After receiving this report, the court will issue order of settlement and the concerned parties have to complete the required settlement papers within a stipulated period. The Release document is the most important out of this paperwork.

Two Sides Working it Out

The defense attorney prepares the Release document, which will have all the terms of settlement. This could be a lengthy document full of legalese. After preparing the Release document, the defense attorney sends it over to your lawyer for approval. The document will be reviewed carefully by your attorney, to see if the terms are acceptable. The two lawyers might argue over the terms for many days, and if they do not reach an agreement, the judge is requested to decide over the document, which delays the process considerably.

No More Chances

Once the Release document is accepted by your lawyer, you are required to sign it, usually in front of a notary public. Before signing it, you should definitely read it and get all your doubts cleared from your attorney. Once the Release document is signed by you, and given back to the defense attorney, changing the terms is no longer possible.

The Attorney’s Payment

The last part of the settlement process will be dealing with liens. In a personal injury case, there can be governmental liens and medical liens. Governmental liens will be from Medicare or Medicaid, and medical liens will be usually from your health insurer or health care provider. Settling liens can again take time, especially governmental liens. After all liens are settled, you will receive the remainder of the settlement proceeds after you lawyer has deducted his contingent fees. 

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Our Arkansas Personal Injury Law Firm has a strong history of
helping folks with legal matters!

Our office will handle the entire process and negotiate with the
 adjuster  to get you compensated for your injuries. If property
   damage, workers' compensation or social security disability
     become involved, we handle that, too. We negotiate, settle,
       or file the case in court.

       If you'll give us a chance to help, we'll get on it right away.
        If you can't come to us, we'll go to you. We're looking
         forward to meeting you.
 
 
 
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FAQ


 Will the person who caused my injury be punished?

Not in the traditional sense of the word. Defendants in civil actions for personal injury do not receive jail terms or criminal fines as punishment. Those are criminal sentences, and personal injury cases are civil actions. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award what are called “punitive damages,” which are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public's interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future.

 When will I get my settlement?

A personal injury lawsuit can average 2 to 3 years, but keep in mind that each case is unique, therefore one cannot predict the amount of time needed to bring you your settlement. Just keep moving forward in your lawsuit and make sure that your lawyers and their staff are getting the job done.

 What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

It depends on whether the person died as a result of injuries from the accident or from unrelated causes. If a person injured in an accident subsequently dies because of those injuries, that person's heirs may recover money through a lawsuit known as a wrongful death action. Also, even if a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, the personal injury claim survives in most cases and may be brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person's estate.

 What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?

You should provide a lawyer with any documents that might be relevant to your case. Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents, fires, and assaults. Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries. Information about the insurer of the person who caused your injury is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident scene, your property damage, and your injury. The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, however, don't worry; your lawyer will be able to obtain them in his investigation of your claim.

 How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?

Every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit arising out of an automobile accident. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may lose your legal right to damages for your injury. Consequently, it is important to talk with a lawyer as soon as you suffer or discover an injury.

 What is “negligence"?

The critical issue in many personal injury cases is just how a "reasonable person" was expected to act in the particular situation that caused the injury. A person is negligent when he or she fails to act like an "ordinary reasonable person" would have acted. The determination of whether a given person has met the "ordinary reasonable person" standard is often a matter that is resolved by a jury after presentation of evidence and argument at trial.

 How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

First, you must have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, you should consider whether your injury was someone else's fault. It is not always necessary to have a physical injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Some personal injury claims could be based on a variety of nonphysical losses and harms. In the case of an assault, for example, you do not need to show that a person's action caused you actual physical harm, but only that you expected some harm to come to you. You also may have a case if someone has attacked your reputation, invaded your privacy, or inflicted emotional distress upon you.

 Why use a personal injury lawyer?

When you are hurt in a wreck, you have lost more than the cost of your medical expenses. Injuries affect your work, your leisure and your family. In other words, injuries can affect your whole life. It is important for you to obtain fair and reasonal compensation for the damage to your life which is caused by a personal injury.


Personal injury lawyers understand how injuries impact your life. Personal injury lawyers help you to understand the law concerning personal injury damages and they help to negotiate a reasonable settlement with insurance companies. If the insurance companies will not be reasonalbe, then personal injury attorneys help you tell your story to a jury so the jury will be able to provide reasonable compensation.


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