Posted By The Law Offices of Eugene G. Bruno, P.C. Posted in: Car Accident, Pedestrian Accident.
A hit and run collision refers to any time the other driver leaves the scene of a collision without providing his/her name and insurance information. If you can identify the other vehicle by license plate, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If you cannot identify the other vehicle by license plate, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have purchased the appropriate coverage (see discussion below). Whether you were in your vehicle at the time, or whether your vehicle was parked when it was hit, the following information will help in handling these claims:
1. If someone hits your vehicle and flees the scene without providing their name and insurance information, call 911. Provide the 911 operator any details you remember about how the incident happened, the other vehicle, and the other driver. If you have a license plate or partial license plate of the other vehicle, be sure to provide it. A license plate, even a partial one, is critical evidence in being able to identify a hit and run vehicle.
2. Locate witnesses as soon as possible and get their names and phone numbers. Also, look for security cameras nearby that may have captured the incident. Look for stores, gas stations or other establishments who may have security video of the incident. Witness statements are critical evidence in handling these hit and run cases.
3. Take photos, if it is safe to do so – do not risk your safety to take photos. Photos of where the incident occurred are important evidence to understanding how the incident occurred and will record the time and place where you took the photos, which will help you establish the time and location of the incident. Also, take photos of the damage to your vehicle. Do not wash your vehicle or attempt to clean off paint transferred from the other vehicle before taking photos.
4. File a police report within 24 hours. A hit and run collision is considered a criminal offense, so you should report it as soon as possible. The police may be able to locate the other driver if you can provide them a license plate or if there is video from which they can identify the other vehicle. Without identifying information, however, it is difficult if not impossible to find the other vehicle. If you cannot identify the other vehicle, you will still need a police report to process a claim under your own insurance, if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage, discussed below.
If your vehicle was damaged in a hit and run collision and you have collision coverage on your vehicle, you can get your vehicle repaired under your own policy. Keep in mind, however, that you may be required to pay your collision deductible. Some insurance companies will waive your collision deductible if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage.
If you were in your vehicle when the collision occurred and you were injured, uninsured motorist coverage is additional coverage that you can purchase to protect yourself in the event that you are hit by a driver without insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage will provide coverage up to $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident for injury claims. You can increase this coverage to protect you in the event that the other driver has insurance but not enough insurance to pay for all the damage he/she caused. This is called underinsured motorist coverage and it will provide coverage for injury claims up to the limit you purchase. Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage is the same insurance coverage, the only difference is in the amount that your purchased.
Click here more information on Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
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