Collecting From Insurance Following Hit and Run Accident

Transcript: Making an insurance claim when you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run collision. Now there’s a little bit of unusual nature about a hit-and-run collision and that is that you don’t know who the defendant is, the person who hit you, because they’ve left the scene. And on some occasions there have been efforts to get license plates and registration and track down a person who has fled the scene. And in those cases, the claim can be made that individual as a defendant and against that individual’s insurance company. But I’m talking about right now the pure hit-and-run collision where you’ve been hit by another vehicle and that vehicle flees the scene and you have no identification for that vehicle. It’s important at that point in time to obtain an attorney because the claim you’re going to be making would be against your own insurance company if you have the right type of coverage for making that claim. And generally the right type of coverage in Indiana would be called uninsured motorist coverage. So what happens when there’s a hit-and-run collision and how does it trigger your policy? Well first, most policies require that there be contact between the vehicle that fled the scene and your vehicle. And by that I mean there has to be some physical bumping of the two vehicles as opposed to the other driver just cutting you off and forcing you off the road with no physical contact. The reason most policies require physical contact is to cut down on insurance fraud and to make sure there has been a genuine hit and then a run. So the key thing to look for is if there’s no physical contact is there an ability to make a claim? And I would have to tell you sometimes there is an ability to make a claim and it all depends on the language of the contract. And there have been cases where a rock has flown up that a semi-truck kicked up and it hit the windshield of the car, damaged the windshield and forced somebody off the road. That is sufficient physical contact depending on the language of the policy. Don’t consider your options to be at a dead-end if you are involved in a hit-and-run and the other driver is gone and you don’t know who that other driver is. Consult an attorney. Bring your insurance policy to the attorney. Have them look it over. Have them try to determine what coverage you have, whether you have the right kind of coverage that would allow you to make a claim. And do that promptly, within a few weeks or a few months following the collision because the options narrow if you don’t do it promptly. Many insurance contracts have certain provisions that are like statute of limitations, but there are deadlines for giving notice of a claim, and some of those are very quick, like within 90 days of an accident certain notice of whether you’re going to make an uninsured motorist claim or other type of claim has to be given. So don’t delay if you do have a claim or suspect you have a claim.

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