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How to Get Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

When you get into a car accident, you immediately have financial and emotional stress. That pressure only compounds when the other driver decides to abandon the scene without warning. It leaves you with a sinking feeling as you wonder how to get compensation after a hit-and-run car accident.

Hit-and-run cases are more complicated than standard accidents because it’s usually not clear who the other driver is. That creates a ripple effect when filing your claim and accessing compensation. Here is everything you need to know about getting your money after a hit-and-run car accident. 

Understanding Fault

California is an at-fault state, which means the driver who caused the damages must pay to fix them. That covers damage to the vehicle, bodily harm, lost wages, and emotional distress. When both drivers share liability in the accident, each driver pays for the damage they caused. For instance, if insurance adjusters find that you’re 40% at fault, you’ll pay for 40% of the repairs.  

The opposite of at fault is no fault, which exists in 12 states plus the District of Columbia. When there is a car accident in a no-fault state, it does not matter who bears more responsibility—your insurance coverage will pay for some or all of the medical and auto bills. 

You’d have a much easier time getting compensation in a no-fault state because you do not have to identify the driver. While California drivers must carry proof of insurance and exchange contact information following an accident, some drivers don’t. Hit-and-run drivers deliberately make it more difficult for victims to file an insurance claim successfully.

Ways to Get Compensation 

Hiring an experienced car accident attorney from the outset can dramatically improve your odds of earning compensation. They understand the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize claims and how to overcome common barriers, such as proving fault. Here are five avenues to earn compensation after a hit-and-run. 

Collision Coverage

No matter what, collision coverage will reimburse you for some damages. It’s an optional part of auto insurance that covers repairs in case of an accident. That means you could hit another car or an object, such as a telephone pole or tree, and still receive money after paying the deductible. 

Note that collision coverage doesn’t cover everything. For instance, the insurer won’t pay for your medical bills or damage to the other person’s car. It also doesn’t protect your vehicle from cosmetic damages caused by theft or hail. 

Negligent Driver Insurance

Negligent driver insurance offers another way to earn compensation, the caveat being that it’s optional in California. That means you must opt into negligent driver insurance. It doesn’t automatically come with your policy. 

Negligent driver insurance steps in if the other driver acts negligently. You must prove that a “reasonably prudent” driver would not have done the same and that the discrepancy in their actions led to the car accident and the subsequent damages. 

For instance, if a fly flew into a car, a reasonably prudent person would open their window to let it escape. A less sensible person would try swatting it, take their eyes off the road, and rear-end the car in front of them. Poor decision-making goes hand-in-hand with a negligent verdict. 

Make a MedPay Claim

MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, covers medical costs related to a car accident. The add-on assists insured drivers and their passengers regardless of who is at fault. The insurance has no deductibles or restrictions on health care providers. It also covers some of the following expenses:

  • Doctor’s bills
  • Hospital bills
  • Ambulance bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • X-rays and MRIs
  • Short- and long-term care and nursing
  • Medical equipment
  • Prosthetics

MedPay provides cost-effective coverage for the underinsured or people with high deductibles. The coverage functions as a supplement to health insurance, so terms and conditions vary by region. MedPay typically works per incident, which means filing a claim won’t impact your total annual or lifetime payouts.

MedPay has its restrictions and won’t cover all forms of injury. For instance, an insurance provider won’t pay for damages that exceed the policy limit or for injuries from non-vehicular accidents. MedPay also doesn’t cover car repair bills or property damage. 

Seek Restitution

Running from the scene of an accident is a felony in California. It comes with a mandatory jail sentence and a possible fine of up to $10,000. If authorities find and charge the culprit, you can ask the court for restitution as part of the sentencing. Restitution payouts cover car damage, lost wages, medical bills, and emotional distress. 

File an Uninsured Motorist Claim

California is one of the states that accept uninsured motorist claims. The claim typically occurs when the other driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for damages. If you successfully file the motion because of a hit-and-run, insurance providers won’t require you to pay the deductible.  

Making a claim requires knowing the other party’s insurance, which is challenging but not impossible. Eyewitnesses or local police may locate the culprit after the accident so that you can ask for compensation. Authorities solve a minority of hit-and-run cases, so an uninsured motorist claim shouldn’t be your first choice. 

Reach Out to Our Experts at Adamson Ahdoot LLC

If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, our personal injury attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot LLP are here for you. Call us today at (800) 310-1606, so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hit & Run Accidents

What should I do if the other driver leaves the scene of the accident?

If the other driver flees after hitting your car, write down every detail you can remember about the vehicle: color, make, model, and license plate number. Talk to any witnesses as they may have seen what the other driver looked like, and make sure you obtain their contact information. You’ll want to present this information to your car accident attorney, police officers, and your insurance company.

What will happen if a hit-and-run driver is never identified or apprehended?

If the hit-and-run driver is never identified, you can dramatically improve your odds of earning compensation by hiring an experienced car accident attorney. No matter what, collision coverage will reimburse you for some property damages. Additionally, if you carry MedPay or negligent driver insurance, you can make a claim for injury-related damages.

How long do I have to file a hit-and-run claim?

If you’ve been injured or sustained property damage over $750 after a hit-and-run accident in California, you have ten days to file a claim with your insurance company and the California DMV. Remember that reporting your accident to your insurer is not the same as suing another driver for injuries, which has a statute of limitations of six years.

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