So you’ve been struck by a hit and run driver and have suffered injuries as a result of your car accident. You were following all the rules of the road, and another driver’s negligence causes them to strike your vehicle or cause you to get into an accident. Instead of doing the right (not to mention legal) thing, pull over and hand over their insurance information, they make a dash for it and leave you out in the dust. Problem is, you’ve been hurt, and may have racked up significant medical bills as a result of your injuries. You may have suffered injuries that require future medical care, or have missed time off of work, forcing you to lose income.
For many responsible drivers, the moments after a car accident can be difficult enough. Being hit by a hit and run driver only exacerbates the issue. Fortunately, victims of hit and run drivers can still receive compensation for their bodily injuries through their own insurance policy; specifically for their uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Can I Sue My Insurance After a Car Accident?
For more information about your car accident or uninsured motorist coverage, contact our hit and run accident attorney today.
§ What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In California, uninsured motorist coverage is governed by the Uninsured Motorist Act, under California Insurance Code section 11580.2. Uninsured motorist coverage basically requires a driver’s insurance company to compensate its insured for damages incurred by a driver who is either uninsured or does not have adequate coverage to cover all of your damages. When another driver does have insurance, but not enough to cover your damages, your insurance may compensate you under what is called underinsured motorist policy.
The Uninsured Motorist Act also requires insurance companies to include uninsured motorist coverage in every automobile liability insurance policy unless it is specifically declined by the insured in writing.
Who’s Covered in My Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage to the driver of the vehicle, passengers, and any family member of the named insured who reside in the policy owner’s household. Therefore, a spouse or a child who lives with you can also file a claim under your uninsured motorist if they were struck by a hit and run driver. Furthermore, minor children (under the age of 18) who do not live with the named insured would also be covered under the UIM policy.
Also, it is not essential that you were in your car to receive benefits from your UIM policy after being struck by a hit and run driver. Uninsured motorist applies in situations such as:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle collisions
- Motorcycle accidents
- Passenger in the vehicle
- Other people driving your car with your permission
§ What Do I Need to Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
According to the Uninsured Motorist Act, as outlined in California Insurance Code §11580.2(b), a claimant must satisfy three requisites in order to be eligible for UIM coverage after a hit and run accident. These requirement are:
- Physical contact – there must be physical contact with the automobile of the hit and run driver and the injured victim or their automobile. This might seem like common sense, but there are several instances where a hit and run driver might cause an accident without physical contact. For example, if the hit and run driver swerves in front of your vehicle, causing you to crash, this prong is not satisfied.
- Report to Police – A victim of a hit and run driver must report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident. It must be reported to the city where the accident occurred, or the sheriff of the county where the accident took place.
- Statement to insurer – the victim must give a statement to their own insurance company under oath, claiming that there is a cause of action against the hit and run driver whose identity is unknown
Insurance companies are well versed at wrongfully denying claims based on hit and run accidents. The hit and run accident attorney at Downtown L.A. Law Group understands how to handle uninsured motorist claims, specifically those involving hit and run drivers. Contact our law firm if you require representation following your hit and run accident.