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Hurt in a Hit and Run? Know Your Rights

Traffic accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists are some of the most deadly incidences in the U.S. In early 2018, fatal hit and run accidents reached an all-time high. New Mexico, Florida, and Louisiana have some of the highest hit and run death rates in the nation. Studies indicate that hit and runs are most likely to occur at night when suspects can easily escape. Roads with low-speed limits and places with heavy foot traffic are the most dangerous and likely places for a hit and run accident to occur. If you or a loved one have been victimized by a hit and run accident, it’s important that you know your rights. We’ll explain what steps you need to take to recoup your losses and get your car back on the road after a hit and run.

What constitutes a hit and run accident?

A hit and run accident in the eyes of the law is when one or more people who’ve been involved in a crash flee the scene before offering aid to the victim, providing their contact information, or if they fail to report the crash. In some states, a hit and run accident can be something as simple as another driver hitting your parked car in a parking lot, and then fleeing without leaving their insurance information.

What are the penalties for a hit and run accident?

Hit and run accident laws will vary state by state. But drivers who’ve committed a hit and run can expect to incur fines, criminal charges, license suspension, and possibly jail time. Depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries and property damage, a hit and run driver can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.

How does insurance cover a hit and run accident?

Your auto insurance will pay for damages you’ve incurred in a hit and run if the other driver can’t be identified. If you only carry liability insurance, you can be stuck paying for your medical bills and other monetary damages out of your own pocket. Comprehension, collision, and uninsured motorist coverage will protect you in the event of a hit and run accident. While it may seem cheaper and easier only to carry the bare minimum auto insurance, the decision to save money on insurance can come back to haunt you in the event of a hit and run.

What should you do if you’ve been the victim of a hit and run accident?

Car accidents are bad enough, but a hit and run can be devastating, especially if you find yourself without the right amount of insurance coverage. If you’re injured, or your car is damaged in an accident, and the other driver flees the scene, here is what you need to do:

  1. Stay put and call the police. Remember as many details of the other driver and their cars as you can, such as the color of the vehicle, the make and model, and the license plate numbers. Tell the police what direction the car was headed, and if possible, get a witness statement and take pictures of the accident scene. If you can, write all of the details down while you wait for the police. Most cell phones enable you to type and enter notes into your phone. It’s crucial that you can give the responding officer as identifying information as you can.

  2. Contact your insurance agent. Your agent will help you file a claim, so you get compensation for your damages.

When it comes to a hit and run, it’s something you can only protect yourself from with proper insurance before the fact. After you’ve been injured in a hit and run, you may never be able to identify the other driver. Only your insurance coverage can help you recoup your losses and pay out your medical bills. Consider increasing your insurance coverage if you live and travel in areas that are high-risk for hit and run accidents. If you’ve been injured in a hit and run, contact your insurance agent asap.


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Tags: Car, Repair


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