If you were the victim of a hit and run accident, you might be in despair that there is no insurance policy to cover your losses. We have good news. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage on your automobile insurance policy, it can pay some of your losses. You see, the law treats a hit and run driver the same as an at-fault driver who remains at the scene but does not have liability insurance.
For example, you were driving through an intersection with the green light when another vehicle ran a red light and smashed into the side of your car. The at-fault driver did not stop to see if you were injured or to take responsibility for the accident. You were left with no liability insurance compensation from the at-fault driver. Since you did not have the at-fault motorist, you did not have the insurance of the negligent motorist.
What Happens If the Police Eventually Find the Hit and Run Driver
Sometimes law enforcement can catch the driver who leaves the scene of an accident illegally. If this event happens in your situation, you can make a claim against the hit and run driver’s insurance policy, if he has one. One reason why many people leave the scene of an accident is that they do not have the automobile insurance that the law requires.
If you already made a claim against the uninsured motorist coverage of your automobile policy and the police find the hit-and-run driver, but he does not have liability insurance, your claim will still fall under your uninsured motorist coverage. If law enforcement finds the driver and he does have liability insurance, the insurance companies will usually sort out the situation.
Ideally, the hit and run driver will turn herself in and have valid automobile liability insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance does not pay as many kinds of damages as an at-fault driver’s liability policy.
What Uninsured Motorist Coverage Generally Pays
Your uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy can pay these damages from the crash, but only up to your policy limits:
- Bodily injury
- Wrongful death
What Uninsured Motorist Coverage Usually Does Not Pay
Most uninsured motorist coverage does not pay compensation for your:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
Unique Situations Involving Multiple Uninsured Motorist Policies
Sometimes it could be possible for more than one uninsured motorist policy to cover your damages. In those situations, you need to know that usually:
- You can only recover compensation from one uninsured motorist policy. In other words, if one policy provides $30,000 of uninsured motorist coverage and another policy provides $50,000 of coverage, you cannot collect $80,000 total from the two policies.
- Let's say that you were riding in someone else's car at the time of the wreck. The vehicle owner carried uninsured motorist coverage on that car, and you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle, which you were not riding in at the time of the crash. The uninsured motorist policy for the car you were riding in at the time of the accident is the one that will cover your losses.
- There is an exception to this rule, however. If the vehicle you were riding in was not owned by someone who was a member of your household, you can select from either the uninsured motorist coverage of the car you were in at the time of the wreck or from an auto policy that covers you, as long as you are a named insured or insured family member on that policy.
Multiple Vehicle Household Exception
On the other hand, if someone in your household owned the vehicle you were in at the time of the wreck, and the owner had declined uninsured motorist coverage for that car, you cannot collect compensation under the uninsured motorist coverage of a different vehicle that someone in your household owns.
The purpose of this rule is to prevent families with multiple cars from carrying uninsured motorist coverage on only one of the vehicles but using that coverage, in effect, on all the cars.
Different Rules for Pedestrians
You get more choice among multiple potential policies if you are not inside a vehicle at the time of the wreck. If you are riding a bike, out for a walk, or in some other manner not inside of a car at the time of the accident, you get to select which uninsured motorist policy will cover your damages.
For example, you might be a named insured on an uninsured motorist policy that someone in your household owns or that you own, and you might also be eligible for uninsured motorist insurance from one of the cars in the crash.
Hit and run accident claims are difficult and complicated. For help with your injury claim, call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838. You can get a free consultation with no obligation.