What to Do about Hit-and-Run Helplessness
Being involved in a car accident of any kind is maddening, but a hit-and-run causes the most anger and feelings of helplessness. Especially when you realize that costs for hospital visits and ongoing physical therapy may never be recovered. What should you do when you are hit on a motorcycle, as a pedestrian, or while cycling? How can you avoid becoming a victim twice by having to fit the bill for such a malicious incident?
Unfortunately, a high percentage of the time the victim uses their own insurance to pay for everything, but these useful tips can help you make the driver responsible.
Get Detailed Information
If you are the victim in any type of hit-and-run, the first thing you should think of doing (besides checking yourself for injuries) is to record as much detailed information as you can about the incident. Your memory will become less reliable as time goes on. So, if you have a pen and paper, or a smartphone, write down the important details.
Provide a description of the make, model, and color of the vehicle, the license plate number if possible, and the time and location of the accident.
If you can find someone who witnessed the event, get his or her information. Then immediately call the police with the information you’ve collected, and file an accident report.
Identify the Driver . . . If You Can
If you’ve provided the police with enough information to identify the guilty party, you may be able to file a claim against that person’s car insurance. In that case, the attacker’s insurance pays for your injuries, damages to your vehicle, and any other doctor’s bills you have amassed. That is-if that driver is adequately insured. It is a sad fact that many drivers hit-and-run because they are uninsured or not fully covered. That is when you may need an attorney who can take it to court to get full damages covered.
File a Claim with Your Insurer
UIM stands for Uninsured Motorist Protection. Most states require some uninsured coverage to purchasers of policies. This would be the first source to look for covering costs in the event of a hit-and-run accident. Depending on the state, your policy may cover all or some of the costs if you are injured by an uninsured vehicle.
You can also purchase underinsured motorist and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage separately to add to your policy. PIP protection pays not only for medical expenses but lost wages for anyone injured in a car accident. Even though these policies are lifesavers, they do not apply to pedestrians or cyclists, so you’ll still have to pay the applicable deductibles. To add insult to injury, your insurance premiums will most likely go up.
If All Else Fails, Get a Reputable Attorney Who Fights for Victims
In a perfect world, everyone would be honest, and the wronged would always receive justice. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and must face the reality of individuals who become hit-and-run drivers and greedy insurance companies who take unfair advantage of their customers.
If you run into either one of these situations, call upon an attorney who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Check the attorney’s credentials, and make sure that any lawyer you choose will stand by you from initial negotiation through trial (if needed) to ensure the best possible outcome. The best attorneys will work with you one-on-one and make your battle their own.
A hit-and-run is a traumatic experience. But with these tips, you can find others-police officers, insurance companies, automobile accident lawyers, etc.-to help you recover from this difficult situation.