In our recent podcast, our car accident lawyers discuss Hit and Run accidents. Specifically, we discuss what happens if you're involved in a hit and run and what recourse do you have?
The following are some important tips if you find yourself the victim of a hit and run accident.
Call The Police To Report And Document The Hit and Run Accident
The first thing that you should do is always call the police so that they can come onto the scene to obtain a motor vehicle accident report documenting that you were involved in a hit and run accident. It's important to realize that a hit and run accident also starts off as an unidentified driver, unidentified vehicle accident. These types of accident are more common than people think. With an unidentified vehicle, it will have implications the claims process. So it is really important to get an early investigation done on the hit and run accident. You want the police out there so they can speak to witnesses. Sometimes there's physical evidence on the scene of the accident. There may be surveillance cameras in the area that captured your accident. There could be cars with dash cams that drove by the area and captured video of the other vehicle. What starts off as an unidentified vehicle sometimes leads to the police identifying the driver, or at least identifying the vehicle.
As car accident lawyers, we also do investigations to try to identify the vehicle involved in the crash. We try to speak with witnesses that saw how the accident occurred. Plate searches if they remember the plate.
If there's just no way of ascertaining what vehicle was there and who the driver was, it's important to know that even in that circumstance, you may have a claim. A lot of people think that if a car fled the scene and is never located, that they're out of luck, but in many instances you actually still have a lot of rights to seek compensation for your injuries through insurance companies.
First Party Claims- No Fault Benefits
There are no fault benefits even in hit and run accidents. That is, you are entitled to certain medical rehabilitation benefits, and income replacement benefits if you're unable to return to work as a result of your accident. Those rights are the same whether or not the car is identified or not. These first-party benefits are available to everyone, with few exceptions, irrespective of how the accident happened.
Underinsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If the car flees the scene and is never found, the good news is you could still, in many instances, have a claim against insurance. And that's a really unique coverage, we refer to it as UIM. Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. In a UIM coverage situation, your own insurance company would act as the at fault party's insurance company and therefore you would seek damages and compensation through your own insurance company instead.
Hit and Run Accidents Involving Cyclist or Pedestrian
What if the situation is something like a car striking a bicyclist or a pedestrian? Even if it's a cyclist or a pedestrian, your own insurance company would still cover you.
Hit and Run Accidents Involving Uninsured Individuals
What happens if you are injured in a hit and run accident, and you do not have your own auto insurance policy. Do you still have a claim? In most circumstances you will have the right to benefits and insurance claims for your losses and injuries even if the other vehicle is unidentified and you do not have insurance of your own.
MVAC Fund- Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, also known as the MVAC fund, is available to victims that don't have recourse against a private insurance company. It has different limits, but it still has insurance coverage if somebody is injured in an accident and there is no other insurance that you can go against. These are unique type of cases. The litigation is different.
Even when you're in an accident, whether you're in a car, you're a pedestrian, or you're a cyclist, if it's a hit and run, or if it's a car that's not adequately insured, the good news for the victim is that there are lots of different options to try to get your injuries compensated. These kinds of cases are often more complicated, more difficult and generally we recommend obtaining a lawyer early to protect your rights to full compensation.
Have Questions? Contact us today!
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