Is a Hit and Run an At-Fault Accident?
If you live in an at-fault state, the responsible driver in a car accident is typically liable for the injured driver’s accident costs. As the injured driver, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer to pursue compensation for your damages. However, the claim process is different after a hit and run accident.
A hit and run accident is one of the only scenarios where you will need to turn to your own insurance company for compensation. In other words, a hit and run accident is usually treated as a no-fault accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Hit and Run Accidents
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, also known as UM/UIM coverage, exists to protect you after an accident with an irresponsible driver.
UM/UIM insurance should cover accidents in which the at-fault driver does not have insurance, does not have enough coverage, or performs a hit and run accident (hitting you and then leaving the scene).
In most situations, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to get compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, vehicle damage, and more. However, if you don’t know the at-fault driver’s identity, you won’t have a place to file your claim. UM/UIM coverage should protect you in this type of scenario.
No-Fault Hit and Run Accident Claims
Since your own insurance company pays for damages after a hit and run, the insurer will treat the crash as a no-fault accident. Depending on where you live, any of the following types of coverage may pay for your damages:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: helps cover medical expenses and lost wages if the at-fault driver is uninsured or performed a hit and run.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: helps pay for car repairs after an uninsured driver accident and, in some situations, a hit and run accident.
- Collision coverage: helps pay for your car repairs no matter who was at fault.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): covers medical bills for you or your passengers — and lost wages in some situations — no matter who was at fault for the accident.
- Medical payments coverage: Helps cover medical costs for you or your passengers after a hit and run accident, no matter who was at fault.
If you file a claim through your insurance company’s collision coverage, you will need to pay a deductible out-of-pocket even if you didn’t cause the accident. However, you might be able to pursue compensation for the deductible costs if you can identify the at-fault driver.
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage is only available in certain states, and it usually involves a deductible too. Some states require a deductible for PIP insurance.
The exact coverage available to you will depend on your state’s laws. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) covers all insurance options available to Texas drivers. To learn more about your specific recovery options after a hit and run accident, talk to an experienced hit and run accident lawyer today.
Hit and Run Accident Claim Exceptions
Although insurance companies typically consider a hit and run to be a no-fault incident, there are situations where it might be an at-fault accident:
- The at-fault driver is identified and has insurance coverage.
- Your collision coverage pays for the accident damages.
- You do not have uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
If your insurance company’s collision coverage pays for some of your damages, your insurer might list the accident as at-fault. You might also have to pay your expenses out-of-pocket if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage. If you have uninsured motorist property damage insurance, you’ll need to obtain a copy of the police report from your accident for your claim.
After your accident, the police will hopefully help you look for the driver who caused your accident. If you can find them, you can seek compensation through their insurance company or a lawsuit. A hit and run lawyer can also help you investigate the accident and look for the responsible driver. To get a FREE consultation with the best lawyer for your needs, call (214) 305-8277 or fill out one of our online forms today.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
You’ll want to document the scene after any car accident, but especially after a hit and run accident. Here are some ways you can gather information quickly and help protect your rights.
Submit a Police Report
If the at-fault driver flees the scene or you never saw them hit your vehicle in the first place, you should still contact the police to report the accident.
Make sure the police create an accident report with details of your accident, and get a copy of the police report for your claim. Officers can also help you try to identify the driver who hit you.
Take Pictures and Videos
If you have time and can do so safely, use your phone to snap pictures or take a video of the at-fault driver, their vehicle, or any other identifying details about them.
If capturing the other driver’s identity is impossible, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and the scene of the accident. Picture evidence will be vital for your insurance claim and might even help you determine who caused your accident.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Since you cannot file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if you don’t know who the driver is, you’ll need to turn to your insurance company’s policy. After the accident, contact your insurer to report the accident.
Even though you were not at fault for the accident, you might need to pay a deductible for hit and run coverage. Also, keep in mind that even your own insurance company will be thinking about reducing its costs. To protect your rights from the beginning, we recommend talking to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
The insurance process can be complicated, and you’ll want to know how specific actions might impact your rates and legal rights. Your lawyer can help you sort through the details and take the best steps for your case.
Get a Free Consultation with a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Today
If another driver hit you and left the scene, you should not have to pay for the damages. Our Dallas car accident lawyers can match you with the best attorney for your needs. We do not charge you a fee unless we win for you, so there is no risk in reaching out.
To get a FREE consultation and case evaluation to go over your legal options, call (214) 305-8277 or contact us online today.