Pedestrian accidents can lead to tragic consequences. When a person is hit by a car, the injuries are frequently catastrophic, causing thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and other costs. If the negligent driver stops at the scene and is ticketed by police, the victim might be able to hold them—or rather, their auto insurance company—liable for the losses.
However, far too often, pedestrian crashes are hit-and-runs, meaning the driver is never caught. In this situation, the injured victim has to rely on their own insurance coverage.
In Massachusetts, It Might Not Make a Difference
As a no-fault car insurance state, Massachusetts requires that the victims’ own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance pays medical bills up to $2,000. This is true whether you were hit as a pedestrian or were in another car. So even if the driver is caught and is determined to be 100 percent liable for your injuries, you still have to make a claim on your own car insurance.
For Catastrophic Pedestrian Injuries, You Can Sue the Driver
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or multiple compound fractures, your bills will likely easily exceed the $2,000 maximum paid by PIP. In this situation, the driver who hit you could be forced to pay your medical costs. However, if they can't be found, it will likely be your car insurance or, if you don’t have car insurance, your health insurance, that pays the bills.
A few steps you could take at the time of the crash to try to locate a hit-and-run driver include:
- Call the police. Even if you don’t think you're seriously injured and the driver is already gone, it’s important to file a police report.
- Collect evidence. Getting pictures or videos of the actual crash or of the scene of the crash from traffic cameras or bystanders could help police locate the hit-and-run driver.
- Seek medical treatment. You might be worried about how you are going to pay for it, but it's vital that you see a doctor soon after the crash. This serves as evidence later on that you took the accident seriously and can provide documentation of your exact injuries.
- Call an attorney. Even if you end up only filing claims with your own insurers, a pedestrian accident attorney can make sure you get the compensation you need to recover as fully as possible from your injuries.
The personal injury team at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, helps pedestrians after they have been injured by a negligent driver. Contact us to learn about your options for recovering compensation for you or for your child in a pedestrian hit-and-run.