How Much Is a Hit and Run Lawsuit Worth?

Being the victim of a hit and run accident is uniquely problematic on so many levels. There’s no one to exchange information with, no one to report to your insurance company, no one to interview to determine fault, and no one to sue if you seek punitive damages. But don’t think that your hit and run is a worthless lawsuit. It isn’t.

Presumption of Fault

In a hit and run, the person that “ran” is usually presumed to be the one at fault, so at least that’s one less thing to worry about. This presumption can be negated, but the burden of proof generally shifts to the one that fled the scene. And in a true hit-and-run, that person is never found.

Contact Your Insurance Company

If the hit and run driver is never found, the victim must find a way to be compensated for actual damages incurred. The first place to go is your own insurance company. You will be able to file an insurance claim for a hit and run only if you have Uninsured Motorist coverage on your policy. This claim should cover your medical bills and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering, up to the limit on your policy.

Then Consider Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer

This is where it can get tricky. We’ve written about this before, but for those new to the post … The insurance company is not on your side. They may seem like it, and you may believe that you are their customer. But this isn’t Nordstrom’s or Kohl’s, and there can be a conflict of interest. Your goal is to get as much paid for as possible. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. If you believe that the offer they make you is too low, or taking too long to pay out, you should hire your own personal injury lawyer.

If you are wondering if your insurance company’s offer was too low or too slow, consider this. A woman who was involved in a hit and run accident recovered $250,000 from her own insurance company, with the help of a personal injury lawyer, under an uninsured motorist claim, after having to have spine surgery and endure chronic neck pain. In another case, again, through the use of a personal injury attorney, a pedestrian who suffered a pelvic fracture in a hit and run accident while crossing in a cross-walk on the University of Southern California campus was able to recover $240,000 under an uninsured motorist coverage.

Most personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, and therefore you risk paying little money upfront, and may only end up paying a fee if your lawyer is able to get you a financial settlement or trial verdict. If you’ve been hurt in a hit and run accident, don’t feel you need to settle for whatever your insurance company offers to pay. Contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and see if the settlement is reasonable. You have nothing to lose, and potentially much to gain.

Related Resources:

Couple Sues Costco for $4M in Racial Profiling Case

Shopping While Black. It’s a phenomena most Americans don’t experience, purely by the coincidence of their skin color. As scientists unearth more reasoning behind unconscious bias, retailers are being pressed to confront the epidemic and take action, or risk being sued. That’s the dilemma now in front of Costco, after an African American couple sued the retailer for $4 million, claiming Costco tipped off police to pull them over for shoplifting, merely because “they fit the bill.”

Racial Profiling, but This Time by a Retailer, Not Police

Barbara and Bahri Wallace were shopping at their local Costco in Anne Arundel County, like they do at least once a week. This time, they were looking for a new refrigerator. Upon leaving the parking lot, they were pulled over by police on suspicion of shoplifting. Shocked, the Wallaces told the officers they were free to check their truck, that they had nothing to hide. The police consequently told the Wallaces they were free to leave, and told Costco they had identified the wrong getaway car. But the Wallaces were shaken, and wanted to make sure this didn’t happen again. After all, they were federal workers with security clearances, and feared their livelihood, at the very least, was at stake.

“You Fit the Bill”

When Bahri Wallace asked the Costco manager why they had been identified as the shoplifters. Bahri claimed the manager said “You fit the bill,” and adding further detail, “African-American male and female, and … carrying a blue purse.” Apparently their crime was Shopping While Black and carrying a blue purse. To add context, this Costco store had been hit by a shoplifter numerous times in the past that was African American and carrying a blue purse. But that may not be enough reason for Costco to identify the Wallaces as the shoplifters.

Racial Profiling in America

Racial profiling still happens all across America, and not just in the deep south. A black student at Yale was questioned by police for Sleeping While Black in her dorm lounge. Two black men successfully sued Starbuck’s for being questioned for Waiting While Black in the coffee shop. Two black men were questioned by police at LA Fitness for Working Out While Black over false allegations they hadn’t paid to enter. Retailers have been at issue even more, as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and others face racial profiling allegations, primarily over alleged shoplifting. According to some studies, this profiling leads to a completely different shopping experience for African Americans than other shoppers experience, one filled with fear and insecurity that they will be tapped by security for even the slightest questionable hand movements.

Laws against racial profiling exist only at the state level. And few, if any, rise to the level of acceptability for the NAACP. In fact, racial profiling laws in the south tend to protect African Americans more than in other, more liberal states, perhaps because they have ended up in court more often. But, as the Wallaces point out, whatever it takes to keep this from happening, they are willing to endure.

If you feel you have been the target of racial profiling, regardless of skin color, contact a civil rights attorney. Every Costco member should feel equally entitled to shop at the retailer without fear of being arrested. And certainly anyone should feel entitled to be whatever race they are, and carry whatever color purse they want. Unfortunately only by litigating some of these subtle, and often unconscious, nuances of our culture will we be able to shed light on what’s OK, and what isn’t. Future generations of America will thank you for your help.

Related Resources:

Dermal Fillers With Side Effects: When Can You Sue?

Dermal Fillers Gone Bad. It happens much more often than you think. Sometimes a qualified medical professional has a cosmetic surgery mishap, leading to negative side effects. But more often, an unqualified person is injecting fillers that may not be approved for the intended procedure. In many of these cases, a lawsuit is possible. But can you prevail? That’s another story.

Cardi B’s Unorthodox Butt Enhancement

Take, for instance, the story of Cardi B. A few years ago, she received dermal fillers for a butt enhancement in someone’s basement for $800. She said it was excruciatingly painful, and for days afterwards, liquid was oozing from the injection site. From a legal perspective, there are numerous issues here. First, the low price alone should have been a red flag; butt enhancements usually run around $5,000. The procedure took place in a basement, which is illegal since it is an unregulated nonmedical setting.

Because of the setting and the likely unqualified care provider, pain killers were probably not possible. Injections are not a recognized form of butt enhancement, and most likely the product used was not approved for this specific medical use. And the oozing was proof that an infection had set in, and she was lucky she didn’t have further complications from the whole matter.

Could Cardi B sue for battery, malpractice, and a host of other cause of actions? Probably! But it’s likely the “medical professional” has skipped town, like Dr. Bumbum down in Brazil. Good luck prevailing against that practitioner.

Even Legal Surgeries Can Go Awry

Sometimes even the best surgeons have bad days, and bad outcomes. The most common negative side effects from dermal fillers are swelling and infection, though there have been more severe outcomes, such as blindness, pain and necrosis. In almost all cases, the problem stemmed not from a defective product, but from poor technique from the health care professional. Therefore, these suits end up as medical malpractice cases. In the nine litigated cases for fillers from 2014 to 2016, the median settlement amount was $262,000.

If you have recently gotten dermal fillers, and are experiencing any negative side effects, from as simple as pronounced swelling to as egregious as blindness, contact a local medical malpractice attorney today. A legal adviser can listen to the facts of your case and help you decide on your best legal course of action.

Related Resources:

KY Sheriffs Settle Claims They Cuffed Disabled Children in Schools

The families of two disabled elementary students won a settlement in excess of $337,000 from a the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky for a systematic practice of harmful and unconstitutional handcuffing. This comes after a federal district court ruled in 2017 that the punishment officers inflicted, notably handcuffing the biceps of disabled students behind their backs, was “an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force.”

Sheriff’s Office Wrong on Use of Handcuffs on Disabled Children

Prior to the federal court case, the Sheriff’s Office had been warned that their systematic punishment of disabled students at numerous local elementary schools was cruel and unusual. These students suffered immeasurably after the cuffing incident, including repeated nightmares, bed-wetting, abnormal parental attachment. However, the Office insisted that the handcuffings were a proper use of force and would not change its policies, thus forcing the trial. And now the department is paying the price

What Exactly Are the Cops Doing in the Classroom?

If it struck you as odd that a sheriff was disciplining elementary school students in the classroom, that is exactly the point that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was fighting when representing the plaintiffs. The ACLU believes that police are ill-equipped to be disciplining students, especially students with disabilities, and even more so when these disabled students are people of color, as in this case. They feel this sort of specialty is outside the wheelhouse of law enforcement, and are hoping this settlement deters other law enforcement offices from entering the classroom to discipline. But if they do, the ACLU also hopes this serves as a warning not to use excessive force and unconstitutional seizure.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing discipline in school that violates constitutional rights, contact a civil rights attorney. The young and the disabled are often unaware of their rights and what is outside the scope and course of acceptable behavior. But the police shouldn’t be. Don’t be afraid to stand up and be heard.

Related Resources:

Who Is Liable in a Waymo Self-Driving Car Accident?

Waymo plans to offer driverless taxis in Phoenix by year’s end, and currently has three dozen driverless cars on the road in Silicon Valley. So now that it’s “game on” in the driverless car market, who is liable in the case that one of these driverless cars gets into an accident?

Who Do You Save? Passengers? Or Public?

It’s an interesting legal riddle that has been batted around for years: a driverless car full of passengers drives down the street. A mom pushing a baby carriage enters the road. To avoid the family, the car must veer off the road and into a tree, injuring its passengers. What’s the right decision? And who is liable?

There are multiple possible defendants here in a personal injury lawsuit. The car owner, the car manufacturer, the driverless software developer, and the family that entered the road, just to name the obvious few. And until a few cases are heard in court, it’s difficult to say who will be liable. But some experts have provided insight.

Legal Pundits Base Arguments on Reasonableness

Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor, believes there will be a shift in blame from drivers to the automotive industry, and corresponding third party hardware and software developers. “To prove that an automated driving system performed unreasonably, an injured plaintiff would likely need to show either that a human driver would have done better or that another, actual or theoretical, automated driving system would have done better,” Smith said. Seems like a reasonable argument, so to speak.

Car Manufacturers Think the Blame Will Shift to Them

Car manufacturers, on the other hand, think it will shift away from reasonableness, and more towards product liability. “It is really not that strange,” said Anders Karrberg, vice president of government affairs at Volvo Car Corp. “Carmakers should take liability for any system in the car. So we have declared that if there is a malfunction to the [autonomous driving] system when operating autonomously, we would take the product liability.” So there you have it from Volvo. They are ready to take the blame!

State Requires Automated System Manufacturer to Carry Insurance

It appears that states may think that liability lies with the automated system. Though Arizona has established no laws on the topic, in California, a company, like Waymo, that wants to be able to have driverless cars on the road must:

  • Demonstrate it has an insurance or a bond equal to $5 million
  • Have plans for police and first responders to interact with the car, when necessary.
  • Employ workers to help the vehicles out of trouble, remotely.
  • Have the ability to monitor the status of test vehicles and the passengers inside them from afar.
  • Comply with all federal rules about car design, or that it had received official exemption from the federal government.
  • Self-certify its vehicles could operate without a driver.

Language like this demonstrates that the state plans to allow victims to come after the manufacturers and developers of the automated system.

If you or someone you love is in an automobile accident involving a car operating while in an autonomous mode, contact a car accident attorney. The laws in every state are rapidly changing, with respect to what is legal, and who is liable. A seasoned veteran will be on top of local laws and current trends, and will be able to offer you the best legal roadmap for your particular situation.

Related Resources:

1 2 3 4 5 169