Accidents are stressful encounters, especially when you are not responsible for the incident. The one consolation in these situations is that the driver responsible for the accident bears the consequences for their actions. If you or your property have been damaged or harmed as a result of the incident, the other driver’s insurance will pay for your medical expenses and property damage.
Unfortunately, those caught in a hit and run accident are left feeling victimized when the person responsible fails to remain at the site of the accident, render aid, and share their contact info.
While a hit and run is a crime punishable by incarceration, license suspension, and a substantial fine in Washington, this does little for the victim if the criminal is not caught. Instead, the injured party is left to pay their own property damage and personal expenses.
Find Compensation with Help from an Everett Attorney
Under normal circumstances, the individual responsible for the accident would look to their insurance provider to compensate the victim for their losses. In a hit and run scenario, there is no way to contact the responsible party or their insurance company to seek compensation. So where do victims look? Look to your own insurance, called 1st party insurance in accident cases, for underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can quickly prepare a claim listing your damages to get compensation for your losses. The important step is to document the incident. If the right steps are taken from the onset, victims can pursue compensation through their insurance’s own underinsured/uninsured driver coverage.
What is Underinsured / Uninsured Driver Insurance?
Underinsured or uninsured insurance is the insurance coverage provided by your own insurance. It is used when you are in an accident where someone has insufficient liability insurance or no insurance at all. Your insurance should then step into the shoes of the other person’s insurance.
This insurance option is designed to provide a way for injured parties to recover compensation for their damages, even if the other insurance options are minimal or do not exist. This insurance can compensate you for medical bills and cover the damage to your vehicle.
If you do not have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, it means you signed a document specifically waiving that coverage on your policy. If your insurance cannot provide proof you signed a waiver of your uninsured or uninsured motorist coverage, they have to provide it. We have had numerous instances where the insurance claims there is no underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, but when asked to provide a signed waiver declining coverage, they have been unable to provide it, and it has provided the needed coverage.
Another place we have found additional coverage for our clients is through the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage of a resident relative. If you have a blood relation living with you at the time of the accident, their underinsurance or uninsured motorist coverage may apply to your accident.
What To Do After a Hit and Run
The number of hit and run car accidents occurring annually is surprising. With appropriate action and attention to detail in the moment of the event, you can spare yourself the hassle of looking for sufficient compensation later on. If you are ever involved in a hit and run accident, take the following actions:
- Write down license plate number: This information will help police in their efforts to track down and bring the culprit to justice.
- Take note of the make and model of the car: In addition to the license plate, see if you can identify the kind of vehicle that was being driven. This can help investigators talk to neighbors and locals in an effort to identify the car and driver.
- Collect Driver Info: If you experienced an injury because of the accident, you could be in serious pain. It is still good to try and identify the gender, general age, and appearance of the driver responsible.
- Collect Witness Info: If there is anyone else that witnessed the hit and run, it is critical you get their name and number to support your version of the events. Many times, insurance companies simply will not believe you.
- Call the Police: Reporting the incident to the police and having a police report of the event is critical to support a hit and run took place and that you are not the liable driver.
- Take Pictures: Many victims are not present when the hit and run take place, but end up discovering their damaged vehicle later. Quickly snap some photos of the vehicle on your phone or with a camera as a way to document the event to prove to your insurance company that your case is legitimate.
Russell and Hill Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have recently been injured in a hit and run accident, our attorneys can help. By allowing one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to assist you with the process of talking with insurance officials, paying medical bills, meeting with doctors, and preparing your claim, you can find time to rest, relax, and recover from your injuries.