Do I Still Have a Case if I Was Involved in a Hit and Run?
You were driving through an intersection on a green light when you are suddenly T-boned by someone. The impact sends your car spinning on the opposite shoulder where you come to rest. You look around and catch the vehicle that hit you speeding away. You know you have been injured, and after seeking medical attention, you may be wondering if you can even file a personal injury claim.
There are many reasons why a negligent driver who causes an accident flees the scene. They could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fleeing from another crime, they may don’t have the liability insurance required by law, don’t have a valid driver’s license, know they will lose their license with more points, or are simply afraid they will get in trouble.
Whatever the reason, you are the one stuck with dealing with the medical bills, lost income while you are unable to work, and facing perhaps a long road to recovery. Someone just stole some of your life, and they did not even bother to stop and take responsibility.
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may still have ways to recover compensation. To find out, work with personal injury attorneys who won’t leave you high and dry. At Slechter Law Firm, PLLC, Mr. Slechter, and Mrs. Slechter represent hit-and-run victims in Louisville, Lexington, and throughout the state of Kentucky in personal injury claims.
What Are Drivers Supposed to Do After an Accident in Kentucky?
When a car accident occurs in Kentucky, those involved are required by law to summon law enforcement, remain at the scene until law enforcement gives them permission to leave, provide aid and assistance to anyone injured in the crash, and provide their contact, insurance, and vehicle registration information to others involved and to law enforcement.
Kentucky is a no-fault state for auto insurance, but that does not mean a negligent driver is not at fault for the crash. Auto owners are required to carry at least basic personal injury protection (PIP) coverage with $10,000 in policy limits. As a no-fault state, your PIP coverage is supposed to provide benefits to you for medical expenses, rehabilitative therapy, and lost wages up to the limits of your policy. You also forfeit your right to sue an at-fault driver, referred to as “tort rights,” unless you refuse to surrender your tort rights in writing to the Department of Insurance. If you don’t formally refuse the right to sue, you still can file a claim against an at-fault driver’s liability policy if you incur $1,000 or more in medical expenses, suffer a broken bone, or suffer permanent disfigurement or disability. When someone is killed, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and its heirs.
In addition, auto owners are required to carry liability coverage with minimum policy limits of $25,000 for the bodily injury of one person, $50,000 if multiple people are injured, and $25,000 for property damage.
Your first option after a hit and run is to file a claim for your PIP benefits if your injuries and damage to your vehicle are minor and your PIP limits are sufficient to cover your claim.
If the at-fault driver had remained at the scene and had liability coverage, you would have the option of filing a bodily injury and property damage claim against their coverage. When that person flees the scene, you will need to turn to uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Kentucky law contains an uninsured/underinsured motorist provision. This UM/UIM coverage is not required by law. However, most insurance companies include UM/UIM coverage in auto policies unless the auto owner opts out of the coverage in writing.
If you do not have UM coverage, your PIP coverage is all you have to access in a hit-and-run, unless the driver is later found and has liability coverage. If you have UM coverage, which is designed for claims when the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can file a claim against your UM coverage. Essentially, you can treat the missing at-fault driver as an uninsured driver since you can’t find out if they are insured or not. Once your PIP benefits are exhausted, you can file a UM claim to recover your damages.
What Should I Do After a Hit and Run?
What to do after a hit and run is what you should do if you are involved in any car accident, such as getting to safety, calling 911, and waiting for law enforcement and emergency responders to arrive. If you can, write down the names and contact information of any witnesses. Contact your insurance carrier so they can open a claim for your PIP benefits, advise the adjuster that the at-fault driver fled the scene, and ask about your UM coverage.
What you do differently after a hit and run is write down any details of the driver and vehicle as you can remember. The car make, model, color, license plate information, bumper and parking stickers, and damage, such as dents, and broken glass, can all help law enforcement in its search. If you can remember anything about the driver, such as gender, hair color, race, or clothing, write that down as well. Moreover, jot down your recollection of events while they are still fresh in your mind.
After an accident you are injured in caused by someone else’s negligence, hire an experienced car accident attorney to represent you. They will know how to successfully pursue a personal injury claim whether the driver fled or remained at the scene.
A Fight for the Compensation You Deserve
Getting compensation for your injuries and damages is always a challenge, even if you file a claim against your own insurance coverage. The insurance company doesn’t care that you are the policyholder. They are only concerned with paying as little as possible if anything at all.
Mr. Slechter and Mrs. Slechter at Slechter Law Firm, PLLC, know how to help Kentucky hit-and-run accident victims find every means of compensation possible. Moreover, they will fight insurance companies for that compensation.
If you have been injured in a hit and run, call Slechter Law Firm, PLLC, in Louisville, Kentucky, for reliable legal assistance.