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How to Seek Compensation After a Hit & Run?

Category: Automobile/Car Accidents Insurance Personal Injury Uninsured Motorist

If you find yourself navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident in California, it’s essential to understand your options for seeking compensation. 

Immediate Steps

The first step after a hit-and-run is to ensure your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident. Move to a safe location if possible and assess injuries. Immediately report the hit-and-run accident to the police. Provide as many details as possible, including the location, time, and description of the vehicle (if available). A police report is crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings. Take photographs of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident occur. If you do not need to be transported to the hospital, seek medical care as soon as you leave the scene. 

Property Damage Coverage

Notify your insurance company promptly about the collision. If you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM), which is an optional form of auto insurance, let them know you intend to file a UM claim. Provide them with all necessary information, including the details of the accident and any evidence you’ve collected. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process, which may involve completing claim forms and providing additional documentation as required. 

Injury Coverage 

If you have medical insurance, it can serve as a primary source of coverage for your medical expenses resulting from the hit and run accident, regardless of fault. Additionally, if you carry UM coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, it can provide supplementary coverage for medical costs. It is important to keep detailed records of all medical treatment received as a result of the accident. 

What If the Hit and Run Driver is Found?

If the hit and run driver is eventually found, you may have additional options for recovering compensation, including filing a claim with their insurance company or initiating a civil lawsuit against them. Your ability to seek compensation will depend on factors such as the driver’s insurance coverage, their financial resources, and the extent of your damages. 

If you have already received benefits from your car insurance company and/or health insurer, your providers may initiate subrogation proceedings against the driver’s insurance company to recover the costs they incurred in covering your damages. This can include expenses such as medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other losses.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit after a Hit and Run Accident

If the hit-and-run driver is identified, you have the option to pursue a civil lawsuit against them. Deciding whether to file a personal injury lawsuit in Fresno is a complex decision that depends on various factors. For example, it may be worthwhile if you have suffered significant injuries or damages, especially if your uninsured motorist coverage or other insurance benefits are insufficient to cover your losses. 

Additionally, pursuing a lawsuit can help hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions, and you may receive a higher award for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. On the other hand, it is critical to take into account the extent of your damages, whether the hit-and-run driver has auto insurance, and if not, whether they have the financial resources to pay a court award. 

Victim Compensation Board

In cases where the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified or uninsured, you may be eligible for compensation through the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB). CalVCB provides financial assistance to eligible victims of violent crimes, including hit and run accidents.

A Lawyer Can Help

A Fresno hit-and-run accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance after being involved in such a traumatic event. They can guide you through the process of filing insurance claims and gathering evidence. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation to identify the at-fault driver, negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation, and pursue legal action against the responsible party if necessary. With their knowledge of relevant laws and experience in advocating for hit-and-run victims, a dedicated lawyer can provide the support and representation needed for the best possible outcome for your case.