A hit-and-run that results in a death is a difficult burden for the family of the deceased in more ways than one. Grieving the loss of a loved one is the most important task. For that reason, having dedicated hit-and-run attorneys on your side after a tragedy can give you space to heal.
Common Hit-And-Run Scenarios
The first scenario occurs when the at-fault, hit-and-run driver is identified. In this situation, the victim’s estate may file a lawsuit or seek to settle an out-of-court claim against the at-fault driver and their automobile liability insurance company. If the at-fault, hit-and-run driver cannot be identified, recovering damages is much different. In this situation, the family members of the victim killed by the hit-and-run driver often incorrectly assume that because they cannot identify the hit-and-run driver, they have no right to recover compensation for the financial and emotional loss of their loved family member. In most cases, this is not true. Almost all North Carolinians have a specific type of automobile insurance coverage that can apply in a hit-and-run wrongful death case. This coverage, Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance, is the best option for recovery in most cases.
UM, Coverage applies in one of two situations. The first situation is where the at-fault driver does not have automobile liability coverage. This commonly occurs when a negligent driver allows their policy to “lapse” or fails to purchase liability insurance in the first place. Uninsured Motorist coverage applies when a hit-and-run driver injures or kills a victim.
In a Wrongful Death case, the Estate of the hit-and-run victim can recover from the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance liability carrier. However, this is only an option is the hit-and-run driver is identified. In the event the driver is not identified, victims may draw from their own Uninsured Motorist policy. North Carolina’s Wrongful Death statute, N.C.G.S § 28A-18-2, permits compensation including:
- Expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the victim following the hit-and-run crash;
- Pain and suffering of the victim following the hit-and-run crash and prior to his or her death;
- Reasonable funeral expenses of the victim;
- “Net income” of the victim to the beneficiaries of their Wrongful Death claim;
- “Services, protection, care and assistance” that would have been provided to the beneficiaries of the claim by the victim; and
- “Society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice” that would have been provided to the beneficiaries of the
Hit-And-Run Accident Attorneys
If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of a hit-and-run driver, the North Carolina attorneys of Maginnis Law can help. We understand how the sudden loss of a loved one leaves an emotional and financial hole. Our attorneys regularly represent clients in high-stakes, complex litigation, including Wrongful Death claims. We will retain the necessary experts to establish the tremendous loss to the beneficiaries of the Wrongful Death estate. We are willing to fight for justice for your family member inside the courtrooms of North Carolina, not just settle out-of-court for the insurance company’s offer.
To speak with an attorney regarding the circumstances of losing your family member, call Maginnis Howard’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, at (919) 480-8526 for a free consultation. You can also visit our contact page to reach out to our lawyers. Our firm offers a contingency fee arrangement for all Wrongful Death claims.