We must distinguish between the hit-and-run accident where the driver is later identified and the pure hit-and-run situation. Under North Carolina law, it is illegal to leave the scene of a motor vehicle collision. Thus, the hit-and-run driver commits separate criminal violations when he or she flees the scene. If the driver is later located, his or her conduct of departure is an aggravating factor, which would lead most juries to render a more generous verdict. If there is any allegation that the victim committed a driver error that contributed to causing the accident, the fact of hit-and-run would typically destroy the defendant’s credibility and ensure the victim’s victory at trial.
If the hit-and-run driver is never located, the victims must present their claims against their uninsured motorist coverage. All of the legal and practical considerations discussed above would apply here. If settlement cannot be reached and the victim prefers trial over arbitration, the lawsuit is filed against “John Doe” and the action proceeds accordingly through a jury trial. In these trials, your uninsured motorist insurance carrier would hire and pay for the lawyer who opposes your claims in court.