If the driver who caused your car accident left the scene, then you will be unable to file a claim against that driver’s insurance, unless the police manage to track down that driver. The good news is that if you were the victim of a hit and run, insurance may be available that covers your damages. Like other car accidents, your personal injury protection (PIP) can cover expenses related to your accident. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage may also provide coverage.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Personal injury protection coverage is a mandatory insurance coverage in New York. PIP pays for the following expenses.
- Medical and health expenses
- Lost earnings
- Other reasonable and necessary expenses related to your injuries
The coverage pays for the abovementioned, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Therefore, if you were in an accident and the other party left the scene, PIP can cover you because you do not have to prove another party caused the wreck. It will pay up to $50,000 per person, depending upon your policy.
Normally, you could file a claim against the other driver if your expenses exceed PIP coverage limits on your policy. And you could file a claim against the other driver for pain and suffering if your injuries are serious. However, since there is no other driver against whom to file a claim, you may have to use another coverage on your policy.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Another option for drivers who have been involved in a hit and run is uninsured motorist coverage. As its name implies, uninsured motorist coverage provides you with compensation if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance.
But it also covers you if you are in an accident with a hit and run driver, as there is no other policy from which you can recover damages.
Drivers in New York must carry $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in UM coverage, though some choose to carry more so check your auto policy.
Your health insurance can also cover your medical costs.
What if the police find the hit and run driver?
After your accident, the police probably asked for any information you could give them about the other driver. Leaving the scene is a crime, after all, and the driver could face penalties – in addition to civil liability for your damages – if caught. Share whatever evidence of the hit and run driver you can. Some witnesses in the area may also provide details.
If the police locate the driver, be aware that the reason s/he fled the scene could be that s/he did not have insurance. In that case, you may file a lawsuit, but ultimately your own PIP and UM coverage could still be your primary sources of compensation.
However, if the driver does have insurance, you can file a liability claim against him or her to recover damages. You will need to present evidence of fault as well as of the damages you suffered. You could recover compensation for the following types of damages.
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- And more
Contact a Car Accident Attorney from Gacovino & Lake
If you were the victim of a hit and run, you might feel violated and cheated. But you are certainly not alone. There are thousands of these accidents every year in the U.S., and many of them cause serious or fatal injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 1,274 fatal hit and run accidents in 2009 and 1,449 in 2011. That is a 13.7 percent increase over the three-year period.
Talk to a hit and run accident attorney in New York from Gacovino, Lake & Associates about your case and the options you have to recover damages. An attorney from our firm will thoroughly review your case, assist in locating the driver if possible, help you recover damages from your own policy, and file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, if the police locate him or her. Reach our offices now at 888-LAW-8500 or use our online contact form to set up your free consultation today.