Were You Injured in a Hit and Run?
Victims can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against offenders to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a hit and run accident, but these claims are often more complicated since the at-fault party has left the scene. In many cases, victims must file a claim against their own uninsured motorist insurance to recover compensation.
Handling a Hit and Run
It is important for victims of hit and run accidents to remain on scene and contact authorities immediately. Additionally, an individual should contact his or her insurance company as soon as possible to report the crash. Any details about the offending driver or vehicle involved should be collected. When possible, victims should make note of the license plate number, make and model, color, and any other identifying descriptors of the offender’s vehicle. Finding witnesses and making note of the direction the other vehicle drives off in can help authorities in the investigation. As with any accident, well-lit photos of the damage to the victim’s vehicle and the crash scene are also helpful when filing a claim.
Why Drivers Hit and Run
A driver involved in a car accident may flee the scene for a number of reasons. The most common factors influencing this decision are lack of valid insurance, expired or suspended license, intoxication, possession of stolen property (including the vehicle driven), and outstanding warrants. Regardless of the reason, the absence of the offending party makes claim building difficult for victims.
Insurance and Injury Claims
Claims for hit and run incidents are typically made against the victim’s own insurance policy when the at-fault driver cannot be located. Passengers who are injured can file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy as well. Although liability insurance coverage won’t pay for property damage or injuries caused by a hit and run accident, other options to recover for losses may include collision insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection coverage (PIP).
Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. If caught, the offending driver will be prosecuted at a state or federal level. In some cases, the offending party may be held personally responsible for paying compensation to the injured person/people. Victims can file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault party and, in some cases, the owner of the offending vehicle unless the vehicle was stolen.