When you are a victim in a hit-and-run accident, whether or not you are able to identify or locate the fleeing driver can have a bearing on the compensation you receive for your damages. If you were recently in an accident with a hit-and-run driver, here is what you need to know.
Has the Driver Been Identified?
If the hit-and-run driver was identified and located, you can go the usual route for collecting compensation for your damages. You can file a claim with the driver's insurance company and negotiate with it to receive payment for the damages.
In the event that the driver does not have insurance or you are unable to settle with the insurance company, you can file a lawsuit in the civil court. Depending on the circumstances of your case, filing a lawsuit might work out better than trying to recover compensation through an insurance claim.
In court, a judge or jury could decide that you are entitled to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are typically awarded in cases in which the actions of the responsible party are considered particularly heinous. In this instance, the fact that the driver left the scene of the accident would fit the criteria for punitive damages.
What If the Driver Is Unidentified?
Unfortunately, some victims of hit-and-run drivers never find out the identities of the negligent drivers. If you were unable to locate the irresponsible driver in your case, you could be forced to file an insurance claim with your provider.
If your insurance policy includes underinsured or uninsured driver protection, your damages, such as the cost of repairing your car and medical bills, will be partially or fully paid by your insurance company. In the event that the negligent driver is found later, your insurance company will take action to recover compensation from him or her.
It is important that you notify your insurance provider as soon as possible that you will need to file a claim for your damages. There are laws in place that dictate how long you have to notify the insurance company following an accident. If you do not notify the company in time, you could lose your right to file a claim.
Although you are filing a claim with your own provider, you still need to be wary. The fact that you are a customer does not prevent the insurance company from attempting to save money on the claim. It is possible that you will have to go through arbitration to get a reasonable settlement offer from your insurance company.
To protect yourself, consult with an experienced attorney who has handled hit-and-run cases. Talk to a lawyer at a law firm like the Law Office of Daniel E Goodman, LLC for advice.
About a year ago, I was left dealing with injuries sustained during a serious car accident. I was worried that I would never be the same, so I decided to start looking into ways to make things right. After thinking about the wreck, I realized that since it wasn't my fault, I shouldn't be left with all of the medical expenses. I decided that I needed to look into things a little further, and I decided to file a personal injury lawsuit. My lawyer helped me to come to grips with the extent of my injuries and helped me to make things right. This blog is all about understanding personal injury lawsuits.