A police chase, a stolen car, a teen driver and an ignored stop signal set the stage for a hit-and-run collision in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (NC), that left two adults and three children in another vehicle injured badly enough to require hospital treatment. The at-fault teenaged driver ran a red light at the intersection of Waughtown Street and Martin Luther King Drive on the afternoon of January 2, 2015, while being pursued by law enforcement officials who had identified the car he was operating as reported stolen earlier in the month.
After hitting the car in which the five innocent victims suffered injuries, the at-fault driver and his passenger fled the scene on foot. Both were apprehended and face multiple criminal charges, including felony hit-and-run and reckless driving. Regardless of how the criminal prosecution process plays out, the people hurt by the wreck likely face long and difficult paths to resolving insurance claims for medical treatments, property damage and wages lost due to missing work while healing.
Even if the at-fault driver carries automobile insurance, that policy almost definitely contains language denying payment for actions taken while operating a stolen vehicle. Also, even if a complete investigation into police actions during the pre-accident chase shows that law enforcement officials created an unsafe traffic situation, claims filed against the city will likely be denied under applications of sovereign immunity.
Fortunately, other options for the victims to avoid financial hardships exist. These can include using their own health insurance and invoking uninsured motorist coverage under their own driver's policies. Navigating either process is usually time-consuming and labor-intensive -- insurers do not jump at chances to pay claims -- but consulting with a Carolina personal injury lawyer who has experience helping people injured in hit-and-run accidents can help the process go smoother.