How to File a Hit-and-Run Accident Claim

December 8, 2023 Posted In Car Accidents

Hit-and-run accidents can leave victims in a challenging situation, especially since the responsible party flees the scene. However, there still may be options for compensation.

how to file a hit and run accident claim

File a Claim with Your Auto Insurer

California follows a “fault” system, meaning that the at-fault party and their insurance company are generally responsible for the damages. However, if law enforcement cannot find the at-fault party, you will have to turn to your own insurer for coverage if you carry the following: 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

UM is a type of optional coverage. It is typically included in auto insurance policies, but you have the opportunity to opt out of it in writing. It is designed to provide financial protection when the at-fault party is unknown or lacks insurance. Therefore, if you carry UM, you can file a claim under your own insurance policy for coverage up to your policy’s limits. 

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage is an additional optional form of insurance that can help cover medical expenses resulting from the accident, regardless of fault. This coverage can be instrumental in addressing immediate medical needs after a hit-and-run.

Collision Coverage

If you chose to add collision coverage to your insurance policy, it can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, even in hit-and-run cases. However, you will be responsible for your deductible.

Legal Action Against the At-Fault Party

Holding an at-fault party accountable for a hit-and-run when they are identified but don’t have insurance can be challenging. However, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally. If they have the assets, you can pursue compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

The steps you take after a hit-and-run accident can be when it comes to filing a claim: 

  • Stay Calm: Take a deep breath and try to remain as calm as possible. This will help you think more clearly and make informed decisions.
  • Call 911: Notify law enforcement immediately after the hit and run, especially if anyone is injured. A police officer will create an accident report, and officers will attempt to find the at-fault party. 
  • Move to Safety: If it is safe to do so, try to move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic. Turn on your hazard lights, set out cones or warning triangles if you have them, and take steps to make the scene visible.
  • Gather Information: Take note of the details of the incident, including the time, location, and any information about the vehicle that fled, such as make, model, color, or license plate number. If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information.
  • Document the Scene: Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of the scene, including damage to your vehicle, any skid marks, and the surrounding area. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims and investigations.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the hit-and-run to your insurance company as soon as possible and check for coverage options. Provide them with the police report and any other relevant information.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t feel injured immediately after the accident, it’s highly advisable to seek medical attention. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms, and medical documentation is important for insurance claims.

Lastly, consult a Riverside Car Accident Attorney. They can provide legal guidance, especially if you encounter challenges with insurance claims or need to explore legal action against the responsible party.

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