What to do if you are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is traumatic enough, so when the other party flees the scene, it can add confusion and uncertainty to an already terrible situation.  Although hit-and-run accidents are far from ideal, an understanding of the applicable laws, as well as how insurance companies view and handle these claims, can ensure that your case is handled properly, and that your rights are protected.

Typically, hit-and-run collisions are viewed by insurance companies as if the other party was uninsured at the time of the collision.  Illinois law requires automobile insurance policies to offer coverage for uninsured motorist accidents, and absent rare exceptions, the applicable statute specifically provides that UM coverage must be equal in amount to the liability coverage under the policy. 215 ILCS 5/143a‐2.  So, as a general rule, if you carry car insurance of your own, or if you are covered under any car insurance policy, you should be protected and able to recover for your injuries and damages via that policy.  Essentially, it’s as if your applicable insurance policy steps into the shoes of the hit-and-run driver’s unavailable insurance policy to allow you to advance a claim and recover for your injuries.

These uninsured motorist claims are based in contract, so the rules are different than a typical personal injury case.  Instead of filing a lawsuit, typically, you are required to submit to arbitration via the terms of your insurance policy.  These requirements often come with specific deadlines and procedures, so it is extremely important to read and understand your insurance policy to make sure all of the requirements are fulfilled in a timely manner.

Notably, you generally do not even need to be driving your automobile in order to enjoy the benefits of your policy’s uninsured motorist protection.  Many policies allow for coverage to extend to accidents which occur as a result of automobiles striking bicycles or pedestrians.  So, whenever you are involved in a hit-and-run collision, you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and protect your interests.

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact any attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.