Hit and run is considered a serious crime in all US states and may result either in criminal or civil liability. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 11 percent of all auto accidents are hit and run, among which 4 percent result in a fatality. There are several reasons why drivers flee the accident scene, including:
- The driver didn’t have a valid driver’s license
- The driver simply panicked
- The driver was driving under the influence or was intoxicated
- The driver was not driving their own car (may be a friend’s or employer’s car)
- The driver was carrying illegal drugs or firearm
- The accident caused a serious injury, and the driver fled to avoid being prosecuted
Making a Hit and Run Personal Injury Claim
Most people think that they cannot file a personal injury claim after a hit and run accident because the other driver is missing. In such a case when the at-fault driver is unknown and unidentified, you have the option to make a claim on your own insurance policy. If you are a resident of a no-fault state, this is how you recover for your damages even in a typical auto accident. In other cases, you can make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). Most people opt for this coverage with their automotive insurance policy. If you have a full coverage insurance, you can establish a claim to cover the damages you sustained in a hit and run accident.
Making the Claim
The process of filing a hit and run claim against your UIM coverage is similar to other types of claims where the at-fault driver is known. The injured party should document the case by calling the police to the scene. If there are any witnesses, take their contact information. It is important that you seek medical attention right away, which will allow you to get a medical record of your injuries.
The insurance company requires the claimant to produce original documentation with details regarding the accident, including medical bills, medical records, and police reports. You may also be required to give employment records to get compensation for lost work.
The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney
Mostly, insurance companies try to offer a low settlement value for a claim. To overcome such a situation, you should get a reliable personal injury lawyer who will gather information about the claim and draft a demand letter for the right settlement amount. The insurance company may reevaluate your case and offer fair compensation based on the lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Due to the complex nature of hit and run cases, there is a chance that the insurance may deny your coverage. In such a situation, your personal injury attorney may advice you to take the case to trial, and help take the next steps to win the litigation.
Trusting your insurance company to fairly compensate you for the damages in hit and run accident claims is a mistake. You should have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side to provide you with proper legal guidance. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 today to schedule your initial consultation.