Few situations are more upsetting than being the victim of a hit and run accident. An auto accident is inherently disruptive to your life – but the accident being a hit and run makes things so much worse. You have to rely on law enforcement to find the driver, which may or may not happen. And it can feel like you have nowhere to turn to get financial help for your injuries.
Fortunately, as a victim of a hit and run, you do still have options for seeking financial assistance. From personal injury to health insurance and possibly even legal action, it is often possible to obtain some help following your accident.
Things to Do After a Hit and Run
1. Take photos and collect evidence.
It can be tempting to pursue the vehicle that hit you but avoid doing so. Getting into a car chase is only going to put you and others at risk. Leave pursuit to law enforcement.
Instead, try to take a picture of the vehicle. It is better to try and take a photo of the vehicle’s license plate and speak to other drivers around you that saw the accident. Get names and addresses of any witnesses.
2. Take care of medical needs.
If anyone was injured in the accident, seek medical care first and foremost.
3. Move the vehicle to a safe place and contact the police.
Florida law requires contacting the police in a hit and run accident. If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic to wait for the police to arrive. Law enforcement will collect your information and investigate the accident.
4. Learn about your compensation options.
Hopefully, law enforcement will locate the driver that hit you so you can seek compensation from his or her insurance provider. However, there are other options for getting financial assistance, including:
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you chose to add the optional uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy, it will cover you in a hit and run accident. Your insurance provider will allow you to file a claim based on a “phantom driver” - the hit and run driver that fled the scene. The uninsured motorists coverage you have should be equal to your bodily injury liability limits – typically $25,000 in Florida. That means your insurance should pay up to $25,000 for your damages.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Every driver is required to carry PIP coverage in the state of Florida. Your PIP coverage will help to offset the costs of lost wages and medical care, but will not cover any damages to your vehicle. And PIP coverage limits are usually fairly low for most drivers, usually $10,000.
Health Insurance Coverage
Your health insurance coverage may help you pay for your medical care following the accident. Unfortunately, some insurance policies do not cover injuries resulting from car accidents, so you will need to check with your provider to verify your coverage.
5. Contact a Florida auto accident attorney.
If the driver that hit you is located, you do have the option of pursuing legal action against him or her. There are two main ways that a lawsuit can obtain compensation:
Obtaining compensation from the driver directly:
It is possible to try and obtain compensation directly from the driver, although this is usually not productive. The driver needs to have enough assets to make a lawsuit worthwhile – and most drivers do not have such resources.
Obtaining compensation from the driver’s insurance company:
Most lawsuits seek to obtain compensation from the driver’s insurance provider. Insurance companies have enough financial resources to make a lawsuit advisable. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to win substantial damages for your medical bills, lost wages, damages to your property and pain and suffering.
The best way to determine if you have a potential lawsuit is to speak to a qualified personal injury attorney in your area. An attorney can look at all the facts surrounding your situation and give insight on whether pursuing a case is worth the time and effort – both for you and your attorney.
Please Contact Our Florida Auto Accident Team
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, it is always a good idea to contact a lawyer and learn about your legal options. The Bulluck Law Group has considerable experience with auto accident cases, and we offer a free case evaluation – so you can talk to an attorney at no cost to you.
If we do pursue your case, you only pay if you win. We are your advocate and your partner in setting things right. Please contact us now to speak with one of our team members about your case. We are standing by to go to work for you!
To learn more about car accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Car Accident Victims.