A Closer Look At Hit-And-Run Wrecks
Generally, law enforcement investigators don’t take a closer look at hit-and-run wrecks. They often quickly pull the plug on these investigations, which is why only about 10 percent of hit-and-run drivers are successfully prosecuted in criminal court. In fact, in most cases, prosecutors don’t even file charges in these cases. There are so many hurdles to overcome that most investigators quickly move on to other matters. Furthermore, even if police investigators do solve the case, that resolution usually does nothing to compensate the victim of that crash.
A Columbia hit and run accident attorney stands in the gap. Unlike police investigators, private attorneys do not give up. Instead, our team doesn’t stop until we obtain the best possible result under the circumstances. This result usually includes compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Moreover, a Columbia personal injury lawyer obtains justice and closure for victims.
Criminal vs. Civil Court
Law enforcement investigators don’t spend much time on his-and-runs mostly because the burden of proof (beyond any reasonable doubt) is so high in criminal court. Typically, to meet this burden of proof, a credible eyewitness must have gotten a very good look at the driver or the defendant must voluntarily and legally confess. These things don’t happen very often.
Hit-and-run collisions usually happen very quickly and often at night. Furthermore, there is very rarely a trail of breadcrumbs, like an oil or fuel leak, that leads directly to the defendant’s car. Even if such a trail exists, the defendant must waive his/her rights and give a statement to investigators.
In contrast, in civil court, a Columbia personal injury attorney must only prove facts by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. That’s a much lower burden of proof.
Assume an eyewitness says the hit-and-run driver was in a blue sedan. A few blocks away, a blue sedan with front-end damage passes by a traffic camera. The camera records the sedan’s license plate number.
This evidence is much too flimsy to hold up in criminal court. In fact, prosecutors probably wouldn’t even file charges in such a case.
However, it’s more likely than not that the hit-and-run sedan and the camera sedan were the same vehicle. It’s also more likely than not that the vehicle’s owner was behind the wheel at the time.
Other evidence may be available as well. Most people drive basically the same routes basically every day. So, there’s a good chance the at-fault blue sedan will return to the scene of the crime. A personal injury attorney, or a personal injury attorney’s investigator, who is on stakeout could then identify that vehicle’s owner.
Even though the burden of proof is so low and attorneys work so hard, the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) identity may remain a mystery.
Many drivers have PIP (personal injury protection) insurance. The premium is generally low and the coverage limit is usually high. If that’s the case, hit-and-run victims could file claims with their own insurance companies and receive compensation for their economic losses. That’s not as much compensation as an attorney could obtain in court. But it’s certainly better than nothing.
Rely on a Hard-Working Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.