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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118722
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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My daughter was involved in a hit and run car accident which

Customer Question

My daughter was involved in a hit and run car accident which totaled her car. The other car took off but a witness took a photo of the car and license. The driver has a history of jail time for heroin possession and was wreckless when making a u-turn right in front of my daughter going 45 mph. Costs will be taken of but are punitive damages appropriate?
JA: What state is this in? And how old is the car?
Customer: We're in NC and we purchased the 2013 Corolla 10 days earlier.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Yes. My insurance has covered the car and rental and will seek reimbursement from the other insurance. There are medical bills from a chest x-ray and the other insurance wants me to contact them.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Your daughter will be entitled to pain and suffering in addition to her actual medical bills and costs and lost wages. Punitive damages are usually not available in such accidents unless it is proven he was under the influence at the time of the accident or willfully violated some statute (so it is possible to argue the hit and run violation is sufficient to invoke punitive damages, which cannot typically exceed 3 times your total damages).

At this point, you should not consider contacting the insurer and you should consider using a local attorney. While an attorney may take 33%-40% of what they win for your daughter, these insurance companies typically will low ball you and will not give your daughter a fair settlement.

Her pain and suffering should be anywhere from 1-4 times her total medical/lost wages for minor injury, 4-7 times for moderate injury and 7-10 times for major injury. Generally, the insurer is going to not want to pay that and will always complain and refuse to pay punitive damages for their client's willful violation of the law, which is why using a personal injury attorney locally to represent her is best.

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