WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM THE VICTIM OF A HIT-AND-RUN?
Oct 27, 2016 - Articles
Following a set of guidelines may help to properly navigate the aftermath of a hit-and-run. People should check auto insurance, understand the law, and report the accident.
Hit-and-run car accidents in Pennsylvania happen far too often. Drivers and pedestrians who are victims of hit-and-run car accidents are usually left feeling vulnerable and alone. The law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis has developed several guidelines which may help when you or a family member find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run accident. The following steps will help to deal with the consequential effects on your health, well-being and financial condition should you be involved in a hit-and-run accident.
Check your auto insurance
One of the incentives for drivers to leave the scene of a hit-and-runaccident is that they may be uninsured or underinsured. For this reason, it’s important before you are involved in an accident to purchase what is called uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage provides hit-and-run victims with the ability to help pay for the cost of medical care, lost wages, and even allow an injured party to make a claim for pain and suffering. In the event that the driver who caused the hit-and-run accident is located but has no insurance, then a claim can still be made against your own policy, if you have uninsured coverage. Additionally, if the hit-and-run driver is located and has insurance, underinsured motorist coverage provides victims with the ability to be compensated when the other driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover the loss. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage should always be carried in order to have protection from these types of losses.
If you are a pedestrian, or a passenger in an automobile without any automobile insurance coverage of your own, and are struck by a hit-and-run driver, or a driver without any automobile insurance, you may still be able to present a claim for your losses and harms through a special insurance program in Pennsylvania, called the Assigned Claims Plan.
Know the law
Pennsylvania state law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in an injury to remain at the accident scene. These drivers have a legal responsibility to give information and even to render aid. The penalties associated with failing to fulfill this responsibility are severe, including felony charges, substantial fines and extended jail time.
Report the accident
Once a hit-and-run car accident has taken place, it is important to report the accident to the police and your insurance company immediately. If a hit-and-run accident is not reported to your insurance company and the police, within 30 days of an accident, you may lose your ability to make a claim through your personal uninsured motorist coverage. Victims can use a car accident report as evidence in a personal injury claim to prove they were injured.
Seek legal advice
Even when interacting with your own insurance company, it is critical to be guarded and vigilant about what is disclosed. The notion that your insurance company ought to be treated as an adversary, rather than a partner, might sound counterintuitive. However, understanding the insurer’s incentives clarifies why this is a necessary precaution. The more claims insurance companies pay out, the less profit they generate. Consequently, insurers can be expected to do all they can to limit, if not avoid, any payouts that are not legally required. Because of this, it is essential that you contact an attorney right away to discuss your legal options, and to learn how to best move forward with the hit-and-run accident, and your uninsured motorist claim.