Hit & Run Accidents
Unfortunately, many people choose to flee the scene of an accident in what is called a hit and run. Reasons for fleeing can include not having insurance or drunk driving. One in four New Mexico drivers are uninsured. However, fleeing the scene risks criminal charges, the penalties for which are particularly severe if anyone is seriously injured or killed. People involved in a car accident are required to give reasonable assistance to anyone who is injured by calling 911 and helping as necessary. If you are hurt in an Albuquerque hit and run, you may want to consult a car accident attorney to discuss a strategy for seeking compensation for your injuries. The Fine Law Firm may be able to help.Protecting Your Rights after a Hit and Run
Under Section 66-7-203 of the New Mexico Statutes, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that causes injury or death must give his or her name, address, and registration number to a driver, passenger, or other person who was struck and give assistance to anybody injured in the accident. Assistance includes making arrangements for that person to get medical or surgical treatment. Hit and run drivers who fail to abide by this law risk criminal prosecution.
If you are hurt in a hit and run, you should try to note any relevant details about the driver who fled so that you can provide this information to the police. In some cases, the police are able to catch hit and run drivers. However, even when they are caught, some drivers have fled the scene specifically because they have no insurance and no assets. This means that even if the driver is criminally convicted, he or she may not be able to pay damages awarded in a civil suit.
In New Mexico, someone who is at fault for causing an accident is required to compensate those who are hurt. The minimum coverage that a licensed driver is required to carry is $25,000 for injury or death to a single person, or $50,000 for all injuries arising out of a single accident. Often, the minimum coverage is insufficient to cover catastrophic injuries.
As the victim of a hit and run driver, you may have to make a claim against your own uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. Uninsured motorist coverage requires your own insurer to pay you damages that you would have received from an at-fault driver if he or she had carried the liability insurance that he or she was required to carry by law. In addition to property damage, an uninsured motorist provision usually covers personal injury and wrongful death damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent injury damages. You may even be able to recover punitive damages from your uninsured motorist coverage in the case of a hit and run driver.
In New Mexico, uninsured motorist coverage must provide an exclusion of $250 or less of property losses. You have the right to reject uninsured motorist coverage in writing. However, due to the frequency of serious hit and run motorist accidents, it is unwise to waive this type of coverage.Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Collision Claim with an Albuquerque Attorney
People who have been hurt in a hit and run may experience some despair about the mounting medical bills and time missed from work. At the Fine Law Firm, our experienced motor vehicle collision lawyers understand the options available to injured Albuquerque residents. We can help you sue the driver, if he or she is found, or make a claim against your uninsured motorist policy when appropriate. Contact us via our online form or call us at (505) 243-4541 to set up an appointment at no cost to you. The Fine Law Firm also represents accident victims in Rio Rancho and elsewhere in New Mexico.