Hit and run auto collisions are some of the most devastating types of accidents. Typically, in the aftermath of a car crash, all affected parties are legally obligated to remain at the scene and exchange contact and insurance information. This ensures that any damages incurred during the incident will be accounted for, and that the appropriate parties are held responsible. When someone flees the scene, it throws a wrench in these standard procedures. Fortunately, you can still receive a settlement as the victim of a hit and run. Read the information below to learn how.
What to Know About Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run car crashes are tricky incidents to resolve. As mentioned above, all parties involved in the collision must remain at the scene and exchange information for insurance and legal purposes. However, when someone neglects to fulfill this obligation, this can severely complicate matters, as you may only be able to get compensation through uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Further, your collision must meet specific qualifications for you to take advantage of this insurance policy.
To qualify for coverage under your UM policy, you must verify that the negligent driver’s vehicle made direct, physical contact with your own. So, for example, if the guilty driver initiated the events of the accident by striking a hazardous object in the road and sending that object in the direction of your car, there was no physical contact between the two vehicles.
Yes, they caused the accident that inflicted damages on your property, but in this case, they would be known as a “phantom driver.” Denial of claims involving phantom drivers are intended to prevent insurance fraud, since it would be far too easy for policyholders to take advantage of such circumstances.
For this reason, it is recommended that you do everything in your power to prove that the vehicle in question made physical contact, either through video or other such hard evidence. If possible, you should also record the driver’s license plate number and the car’s description. Such information will increase your chances of recovering monetary damages for the incident, as authorities can use it to track down the vehicle and the driver.
Further Actions You Should Take to Receive Compensation
After you have established that physical contact was made and recorded as much identifying information as possible, report the incident to the police within 24 hours. This way, you have a legal record of the incident that can be used to support your case. Within the following 30 days, the collision must be reported to your insurer. Hit and run car accidents are unique in that, instead of negotiating a settlement with the guilty driver’s insurer, you will need to carry out these discussions with your own insurer.
Though this may seem to be the easier option, insurance companies are notorious for denying policyholders’ claims in circumstances such as hit and runs or seemingly one-car accidents. Because they want to pay as little as possible for your crash, your insurance company may attempt to undermine your account of the incident. With the help of an experienced car accident lawyer, you can circumvent such invalidation and receive the funds you need to recover from the crash. Contact a car accident lawyer today to get your case started.