Hit and Run Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a “hit and run” as any incident in which “a driver crashes into another vehicle, a pedestrian, or onto private property, then leaves without identifying himself, rendering aid, or both.” A hit and run accident is dangerous, illegal, and downright disrespectful – and accounts for 11 out of every 100 traffic accidents in the U.S., reports the NHTSA. If you were the victim of a hit and run, call a California car accident attorney at The Sargent Firm today.
On a local level, a record 23 victims were killed in San Diego-area hit and run accidents in 2014 – and countless more sustained serious injuries. While many of these scenarios involved cars vs. pedestrians or cyclists, hit and run accidents are not uncommon between two vehicles and can leave the law-abiding motorist feeling frustrated and unsure where to turn for help.
What to Do Following a Hit & Run Accident
In some cases, the other driver may flee the scene immediately. Other times, the driver may linger awhile before ultimately opting to forgo the formalities of exchanging information. In any event, as soon as it becomes apparent that the other driver is not planning to participate, document as much as possible about the vehicle, its license plate, the driver, and the scene of the accident. Then, contact local police immediately to file a police report, and be sure to provide the responding officers with as much information as possible.
From there, prepare for an uphill battle with the insurance company, as California has adopted a “bright-line rule” (explained below) with regard to insurance coverage following a hit and run accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Hit and Run Accidents
When a hit and run occurs, there will obviously be just one insurance company and policy involved (the victim’s) – and the policyholder will be required to make a claim under his Uninsured Motorist (UM) provisions. The California Legislature has adopted a number of coverage rules, referred to as bright-line rules, applying specifically to coverage for a hit and run accident, namely:
- There must be physical contact between both vehicles involved in the incident.
- The insured motorist must file a police report within 24 hours of the hit and run.
- The insured must file a claim with the insurance company within 30 days of the accident.
The legislature ultimately determined that hit and run accidents are a costly drain on the insurance industry, and implemented these requirements to help ensure claims are limited to legitimate hit and run incidents only. Talk to attorney Ryan Sargent about your options for recovery after a hit and run. This may include uninsured motorist coverage, your health insurance, and other insurance coverage options available to you.
Contact a California Car Accident Attorney Today!
If you were the recent victim of a dangerous hit and run accident in the San Diego area, and are unsure where to turn for help, contact The Sargent Firm right away: 888-501-6083