Who Pays for a Hit and Run Accident?

When you're hurt in a car accident, you have the right to take legal action and be compensated for your injuries. But what if the driver who hit you flees the scene? While filing a claim against the other driver's insurance company is still possible if they are caught, if they cannot be found you are stuck recovering damages from your own insurance company. Before going into detail about how to recover damages, there are a few things you need to know about how where you live can affect how to pursue your case.

Fault-Based Insurance States vs. No-Fault Insurance States Depending on where you live, who is left footing the bill for a hit and run may vary. Most states follow fault-based insurance rules, which means that if you are involved in an accident, even a hit and run, you must prove to the other driver's insurance company that it was their insured driver that was at fault for the accident. Only then are you able to collect any damages for your injuries. In states that follow no-fault insurance rules, you submit your claim to your own insurance company, who then pays you for any damages you incurred from the accident. What to Do After a Hit and Run If you're involved in a hit and run accident, or any accident, for that matter, you'll likely be overcome with feelings of stress and emotion. Don't let this cloud your judgment. There are a few steps you can take immediately after a hit and run that can make a world of difference down the road if you decide to pursue damages. Stop and make sure everyone in your vehicle is okay. If anyone is hurt, or you think they may be, seek medical attention right away. In the case of an accident, nothing is more important than the wellbeing of you and the ones you love, so make a point of slowing down and taking care of those who need it before anything else. This can be difficult to focus on when you know the person who hit you is getting away, so, after making sure everyone is okay ... Stay as calm as you can and gather information. If you didn't see much, it may not seem worth writing anything down, but every detail helps. Key details include any description of the car, including the make or model, as much of the license plate number as you remember, and even a description of the driver. By cobbling together as much information as possible, you increase the odds of the police catching the driver and help your car insurance company make decisions regarding your claim. Call the police. It can be tempting to chase the person down who hit you and drove off, but don't give in to this temptation. Let the police handle the situation. The best thing you can do is to file an incident report complete with every detail you were able to gather. Before you leave the accident scene: Note the time and location of the accident and take pictures of the scene. Many drivers hit an object and claim to have been victimized by a hit and run in an attempt to defraud their insurance company, so having pictures of your vehicle, particularly if the other car's paint is visible on it, can help prove that your case is legitimate. Report the accident to your insurance company. After you've taken all of the other necessary steps, you need to inform your insurance company about what happened. They need all of the information you can give them so that they can move forward with settling your case. Most people stop after taking this step, but this is often a mistake. It's easy to fall into thinking that your insurance company will act in your best interest, especially after you've been victimized by a hit and run. It is, after all, your insurance company. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case, as insurance companies will generally do everything in their power to limit the value of your claim. That's why the last and final step when you're involved in a hit and run is to do one more thing. Contact an attorney. A lawyer experienced in representing hit and run victims will have the right combination of knowledge and emotional fortitude to guide you through the legal process and get you compensated for what happened. The Bottom Line Being involved in a hit and run accident can take a toll on you, and it can be difficult to know what to do to make sure you're taken care of and put it behind you. By taking the proper actions after it happens, you can make a complicated process less complicated and ensure that the one who ends up paying for the accident isn't you.

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