Hit & Run
Unfortunately, sometimes drivers negligently cause crashes and leave the scene without waiting to speak to police, or even making sure others involved are ok. There are many reasons that negligent drivers leave the scene, most of which involve fear of the repercussions of their actions. For example, a drunk driver may be afraid of criminal charges, or an uninsured driver may be afraid of the financial consequences of their negligence.
If you are involved in any car crash, it is always a good idea to immediately note the other driver’s license plate number and make/model of car so that in case they leave the scene, you are able to give the police enough information to track them down. If you can safely do so, take a picture of the other vehicle, including the license plate. Sometimes it will appear as if the other driver is going to pull over, but once you are out of the roadway, they take off.
In the event that the other driver leaves the scene without waiting for police or exchanging insurance information, jot down every detail you can remember about the other vehicle and driver. This will give you the best chance of tracking them down after the fact.
Much of the time in hit and run collision incidents, victims will be left with no way to identify the other driver and thus no way to assert claims against that driver. Under such circumstances, you may be entitled to recovery under your own uninsured or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UIM coverage is obtained through your own insurance company, and kicks in when you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, but that person does not have insurance, or has insufficient coverage to compensate you for your damages.
In the context of hit and run collisions, there are often rules under your insurance policy for promptly reporting the incident to your insurance company in order to claim benefits under UIM coverage. For this reason, it is imperative that if you are involved in a hit and run crash, you notify your insurance company immediately. The more time that passes after the crash, the more likely your insurance company will try to deny you coverage.
In addition to reporting the incident to your insurance company, it is a good idea to get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the incident. Insurance companies are notorious for fighting hit and run injury claims, often trying to blame the injured person for the crash. If you have witnesses who can corroborate your version of the events, you are much more likely to be successful in asserting a UIM claim in the hit and run context.
Even though you may not be able to identify the driver that hit you, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer if you are injured in a hit and run incident. A lawyer will be able to explain the claims process related to asserting a UIM claim, and in the event that your insurance company tries to deny coverage, you are much more likely to succeed with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side.