Hit and Run Car Accident Claims Can Leave You Holding the Bag
While we would like to believe that anyone who causes an accident will “do the right thing” and stay at the scene, the fact is that hit-and-run accidents are an increasingly common problem. Experts estimate that 11 percent of all vehicle crashes now involve a hit-and-run driver. Hit-and-run crashes may involve both injuries and property damage and are sometimes difficult to prosecute, particularly if there are no witnesses to the crash and the driver is not located quickly.
What Is A Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when one driver hits another vehicle, a person, a bicycle or property then leaves without offering help to any victims or exchanging insurance information with the other party. A driver may flee an accident scene for many reasons, although typically hit-and-run drivers fall into one of several categories:
- Drivers who have no insurance
- Drivers who have no license
- Drivers who have outstanding criminal or traffic warrants
- Drivers who are drunk or otherwise impaired
- Drivers who panic at the thought of being blamed for an accident
Who Pays for Damages in a Hit and Run?
The biggest problem with hit-and-run accidents is that there is no one to take responsibility for the injuries and damages left behind. Hit and run is illegal in all states and can carry very serious criminal penalties, especially if a driver flees the scene of an accident with serious injuries. However, even if the driver is caught and punished in criminal court, it does not mean that the victim will be able to recover monetary damages.
Most victims who recover money in a hit-and-run accident have uninsured motorist coverage on their own insurance policies. This coverage is essential if you want to protect yourself and your family against possible expenses resulting from a hit-and-run.
In some states, including Florida, drivers are also required to carry insurance known as PIP or Personal Injury Protection. PIP coverage pays the medical bills of you and your passengers up to a certain limit if you are involved in an accident. However, PIP cannot be used to pay for property damage or pain and suffering.
What Should I Do If I Am Involved In A Hit and Run?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is very important to use every possible method to identify the driver. Try to locate any witnesses to the accident and see if there are any traffic cameras in the area that law enforcement officers may be able to use to identify the driver.
Although it is important to identify the culprit, you should never chase a hit-and-run driver, whether you are the victim or a witness. If you happen to see a hit-and-run accident, try to record as much information about the vehicle and driver as possible and report the information to the police. Chasing a driver can result in serious injury and liability for you.
If you cannot locate or identify the driver, you must file a claim with your own insurance company. In some cases, however, insurance companies may balk at paying hit-and-run claims, especially if the insurer believes that someone else may be liable. If your insurance company tries to deny your claim, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover compensation, including medical bills, pain and suffering and other expenses. If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact the Orlando Auto Accident attorney’s at David & Philpot P.L., today to discuss your rights. There is no cost for the consultation.