When individuals get in car accidents, they are legally required to pull over and exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved. Unfortunately, there are many irresponsible drivers out there who do the exact opposite—after hitting another vehicle, they simply speed up and take off. This becomes extremely problematic for the driver who was hit, considering that he or she cannot pursue compensation from the at-fault party's insurance company.
Fortunately, individuals in this type of situation may be eligible to seek financial recovery by going through their own insurance companies. These types of claims are referred to as "first-party" insurance claims. When individuals are victims of hit and run accidents, they typically turn to their Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage or their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Read the information below to learn more about these insurance options.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
A driver signs up for this coverage in case he or she is ever in an accident in which the other motorist lacks liability insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the damages. In California, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage can be applied to hit and run accidents, but only for bodily injury damages. (UM/UIM property damage coverage can only be applied to accidents where the uninsured driver is identified.) Examples of bodily injury damages that are covered under this insurance option are medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. The damages claimed can be for the insured driver or for other occupants in the vehicle. While California drivers are not required to have UM/UIM insurance coverage, auto insurance companies in the state are required to offer it.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Another option for recovering damage through your own insurance company may be going through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, if you have it. This type of insurance pays for the insured person's medical expenses and lost income, regardless of who caused the accident. This insurance can also cover personal injury expenses of the insured person's passengers or others who are authorized to drive the insured's vehicle. PIP insurance is an optional form of coverage.
Don't be misled into thinking that reaching a settlement will be easy simply because you are working with your own insurance company. There are many insurers that unfairly deny claims or offer insufficient settlements so they can avoid having to lose money. If you have been injured by a driver who committed a hit and run, you can turn to our Modesto personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Dean Petrulakis for high-quality legal advocacy. Our lawyer can stand by your side throughout the entire claims process and help you pursue the compensation you truly deserve. Contact our firm today!