Hit and Run Accidents
It is against Missouri law to leave the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or property damage. Negligent drivers who engage in this behavior may be liable to the people they harm as well as being criminally culpable for their actions under RSMo § 577.060. The motor vehicle collision lawyers at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig help victims near Columbia and the surrounding communities seek compensation from those who hurt them.Protect Your Rights After a Hit and Run Accident
Victims of hit and run drivers may have the right to file suit in Missouri state court if they were hurt because of this conduct. To prevail in such a lawsuit, the injured person needs to show:
- The defendant, usually the other driver, owed a duty of care;
- The defendant failed to meet the required standard of care;
- Those careless actions caused the victim’s harm; and
- Actual damages were incurred because of the injuries.
Every driver in Missouri owes a duty to those around him or her to avoid unreasonable behavior that might foreseeably harm them. If a person fails to live up to this standard, he or she is considered to have violated this legal duty. Some behavior that might constitute a breach includes driving drunk or distracted, or failing to obey traffic rules.
If the breach was the factual and legal cause of the accident, the driver likely will be liable for damages. The defendant is considered to be a factual cause of a victim’s injuries if they would not have happened if the defendant had taken reasonable precautions and met the appropriate standard of care. For the driver to be deemed a legal cause, the harm must have been a natural and probable consequence of his or her behavior.
In most circumstances, therefore, a hit and run driver must have acted negligently in some way for a victim to hold him or her liable. Leaving the scene of an accident, while unreasonable, often does not meet the causation requirement necessary to prove a case. There may be some exceptions, such as if the driver’s leaving the accident scene caused the victim some injury that he or she would not have otherwise suffered. However, most people would not behave in this reprehensible way unless a preceding careless action at least contributed to the crash. There is usually some type of negligent conduct that preceded the hit and run, and this can be the basis for the breach and causation requirements.
If a victim successfully proves a negligence case, he or she may collect damages from the defendant to compensate for financial, emotional, and physical harm. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. In some cases, the defendant could be subject to further punitive damages if the behavior causing the accident was especially egregious.Discuss Your Car Crash Case with a Jefferson City Lawyer
An experienced attorney can help you if you were injured by a hit and run driver. Even if you didn’t get identifying information at the scene of the accident, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to help you trace the individual or pursue compensation from your insurance company. The car crash attorneys at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig have helped numerous people in Jefferson City and throughout Missouri seek damages from hit and run drivers. To schedule a free case evaluation, call (573) 657-2050 or visit our contact page.