Compensation Claims Against Drivers That Leave the Scene of a Crash
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Dec 11, 2019 in Car Accidents
Automobile accident claims are challenging enough, but what do you do when someone hits you and leaves the accident scene? How do you get compensated for your damages?
The South Bend car accident lawyers of Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak explain the insurance claims process for a hit-and-run accident. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available in your situation.
How You Can Help Your Potential Claim
If you are involved in a car crash where the other driver flees the scene, call the police. An officer should respond to the scene and make an accident report. Request a copy of this report from the responding law enforcement agency.
You should also start collecting evidence right away. Any information you gather may help the police to locate and identify the driver. Your evidence also helps to support any claim you may later pursue.
- If possible, get the license plate number of the other vehicle. Write it down or snap a quick photo.
- Start recording video as soon as possible. You may be able to capture the other vehicle leaving the accident scene along with the license plate number.
- Write down a description of the other vehicle, including color, body style, where it would have sustained damage and other unique information that may help investigators identify and locate the vehicle.
- Take photos of the accident scene – but do not put your safety at risk to do so. Photograph vehicle damage, accident debris, road conditions, etc.
- Find out if local businesses have video cameras that may have recorded the collision and request a copy of this footage.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident and ask for a statement.
Pursuing a Claim If the Driver Is Identified
If you can identify the hit-and-run driver, you may file a claim against his or her auto insurance policy. However, in many hit-and-run accidents, the fleeing driver is uninsured and attempting to avoid financial responsibility. He or she may also be attempting to avoid trouble with the law, since driving without insurance in Indiana is illegal and may result in stiff penalties, including a suspended driver’s license.
Filing a Claim Against Your Own Insurance Policy
Indiana law requires that new auto insurance policies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage; however, as the policyholder you do have the option to reject this coverage.
State-required minimums for UM/UIM coverage are as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage (per person/accident)
- $50,000 total bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 per accident property damage
If the other driver is uninsured, and you have purchased the optional UM/UIM coverage, you may be able to recover damages by filing a claim against that portion of your own insurance policy.
Why It Is Important to Have an Attorney Handle Your Hit-and-Run Claim?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, hiring a car accident attorney may be beneficial to your claim.
To recover compensation using your UM/UIM coverage in Indiana, you must be able to prove:
- The other driver acted negligently or was at fault for the collision
- You sustained damages due to the collision
- The other driver or the vehicle was not insured or was underinsured, or that you were not able to identify the other driver
A reputable attorney can protect the value of your potential claim and build a strong argument on your behalf by:
- Investigating all aspects of the accident
- Gathering supportive evidence to build and strengthen your claim
- Protecting your best interests and legal rights
- Handling all communication with the insurance company
- Keeping you fully informed about the status of your claim throughout the legal process
Contact Our Attorneys for Assistance After an Accident
If you were injured in a hit and run accident, our South Bend car accident attorneys are prepared to help you recover the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Request your free consultation today to get answers to your questions and discuss your legal options.
We charge no money unless, or until, we first recover compensation for you.