How Are Damages Covered After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident means that the at-fault driver does not stick around to exchange information with the other driver or take responsibility for the crash. Since California is a fault state, drivers typically file insurance claims against those who are at fault for their accidents. If the at-fault party flees the scene without stopping, find out how damages may be covered instead of a traditional insurance claim.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance
The most common type of coverage for a hit-and-run car accident in California is uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, also referred to as UM and UIM insurance. This is an optional type of coverage for California drivers outside of the standard liability insurance. If you choose to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, it can cover your own property damage and medical bills after a hit-and-run crash. Your car insurance company will process the claim as if the at-fault driver had remained at the scene but did not have insurance.
After a hit-and-run crash, contact your own car insurance company to find out if you have UM or UIM coverage. If so, your insurer may be obligated to pay all or part of your damages. You should also ask if you have collision coverage. This is a first-party type of insurance that can pay for damage to your vehicle, regardless of the cause of the accident. Finally, find out if you have medical pay (MedPay) insurance. This can pay for your medical bills after a hit-and-run crash.
Consider Other Defendants
Even if the at-fault driver flees the scene, you may still have grounds to file a claim against a third party. A third party is someone who was not directly involved in the car accident but still contributed through some form of negligence. Examples include the government after a car accident caused by a road hazard or the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part. An investigation of your car accident may find signs of third-party negligence or outside factors that contributed to the hit-and-run.
What if the Police Find the Hit-and-Run Driver?
It is important to always contact the police after a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles, no matter how minor your property damage is. Notifying the police can have an official accident report drawn up that documents all of the relevant details and information, including the date, time and location of the hit-and-run. Your insurance company will look for this police report as evidence to support your claim.
In addition, involving the police comes with the possibility of law enforcement tracking down and identifying the at-fault driver. The police may be able to use evidence from the scene, such as pieces of the other driver’s vehicle in the road, eyewitness accounts and surveillance footage to identify the other driver. If this happens, you can file a claim with the other driver’s car insurance company as you would in a standard car accident case.
When to Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
The unfortunate reality is that it can be difficult to get your hit-and-run car accident completely covered by insurance. You may be forced to pay for some of your medical costs and property repairs out of pocket. If you sustained serious injuries or a loved one died in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights.
A Los Angeles car accident attorney can provide a comprehensive investigation of your crash and thoroughly explore all of your legal options for making a financial recovery. If you qualify for first-party insurance coverage or there is a third party available to take financial responsibility for your accident, an attorney can help you go through the legal process.
To get the justice and financial recovery that you deserve after a hit-and-run car accident in Los Angeles, contact Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP for a free case consultation with one of our attorneys. We are experienced lawyers who can handle any type of case complication.