The term hit-and-run refers to a traffic-related accident in which one of the drivers involved leaves the accident scene without exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver, reporting the accident to the police and remaining to speak with the investigating officer, or rendering aid to those who were injured in the crash. Each year in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of hit-and-run car accidents occur on public roadways, accounting for a significant portion of traffic fatalities and serious injuries to vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
There are several common, inaccurate myths surrounding hit-and-run car accidents that can cause people who are eligible to seek compensation to avoid the personal injury claims process or to take unnecessary steps when navigating the process. A talented car accident lawyer can provide answers to your specific legal questions.
1. You Are Not Eligible for Compensation if You Are Injured in a Hit-And-Run Accident
This is not true. In reality, if you are injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries by filing a claim against a relevant insurance policy held by you or another party involved in the case. Granted, there is some complexity involved in the situation. A claim cannot be filed against an at-fault driver unless you have their name and insurance information. However, your attorney will take a careful look at all types of insurance policies that can be used to compensate your claim, including your own.
Many drivers have uninsured/underinsured coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. This coverage is primarily intended to cover the expenses of those injured by a driver who did not have insurance or whose liability coverage was not substantial enough to completely cover the expenses and impacts they incurred as a result of the accident. However, most UM/UIM policies also extend coverage for accidents in which the at-fault party cannot be identified. Additional types of policies held by an injured party in a hit-and-run accident may also provide compensation, such as MedPay coverage or even a health insurance policy that the claimant has as a benefit of employment or was privately obtained.
2. The Fleeing Driver in a Hit-And-Run Accident Is Not Likely to Be Found
Also not true! While it was true in the past that it was nearly impossible to locate a driver who has fled the scene of the accident, times have changed. Many modern hit-and-run drivers are found due to the prevalence of cameras, such as security cameras used by nearby residents and businesses, traffic cameras, and even the cell phone cameras of other roadway users that are used to record or snap photos of the accident in the initial moments after it occurs.
The increase in understanding that witnesses of a crash have pertaining to offering information about crimes has also led to more hit-and-run drivers ultimately being apprehended. News stories of witnesses providing accurate descriptions of the vehicle involved or even a complete or partial license plate number have increased awareness among roadway drivers of the need to be alert, particularly when an accident has occurred.
3. Rural Roads Are Most Commonly the Site of Hit-And-Run Accidents
In truth, the majority of hit-and-run accidents occur in urban areas outside of marked intersections. The increase in accidents in urban environments is primarily due to a larger number of vehicles traveling a roadway and the greater risk that a driver of one of those vehicles is exhibiting negative driving behaviors. Hit-and-run accidents are less likely in rural areas where there are fewer drivers on the road and often more opportunities for a driver to avoid an accident by swerving into an unoccupied lane of the roadway.
Often, pedestrians and bicyclists are the most frequent victims of hit-and-run accidents, and these accidents generally occur during late night hours and in areas where there is less lighting provided on the roadway. There is a greater number of pedestrians and bicyclists using roads in urban areas, where more businesses are open late.
4. You Do Not Need an Attorney to Help You With a Hit-And-Run Accident Claim
Not true! You don’t need a doctor to have an operation, but your odds of surviving are improved by obtaining the help of a trained professional! People often view obtaining an attorney after a car accident as a useful option to have. However, if you are planning to seek compensation through the personal injury claims process, having an attorney is a crucial element for a successful claim. Car accident attorneys not only offer a deep understanding of the law and how the process works but also have a team of legal professionals to assist them with the extensive amount of evidence and documentation that is often required to prove the claim to an at-fault driver’s insurance provider or to a judge or jury.
The insurance industry makes its money by collecting premiums from its insured. Paying out on claims takes money away. Because of this, insurance claims adjusters will often dispute valid claims or even attempt to pressure a claimant into accepting a settlement that is far lower than the amount needed to compensate them for their expenses and impacts. An attorney can manage communication with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider in order to protect the value of the claim and fight for their client to receive the compensation they need.
Injured in a Hit-And-Run in Pennsylvania? Contact RGSG
Hit-and-run accidents do not mean that it is impossible for an injured party to obtain compensation, and in many cases, the driver can seek compensation through their own insurance policies if the at-fault party is not identified. The case is not impossible; it is just more complex. The highly-qualified car accident legal team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. can help you determine your legal options for seeking compensation and the types of insurance policies that are available to cover your claim. In over 68 years, our attorneys have handled many challenging cases, including those involving hit-and-run car accidents.