Hit-and-Run Insurance Facts: Why They Do It and Your Options Afterward

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

For many drivers who are injured in a hit and run, there is little that can be done to hold the responsible individual accountable. Therefore, all costs must come from the victim’s own pocket or auto insurance policy. Of course, these hit-and-run insurance facts depend on where the person lives and mandatory insurance requirements.

Hit-and-Run Insurance Facts: Contributing Factors

Uninsured Driver

Why someone would leave the scene of an accident is difficult to understand. But there are some common scenarios in which this can happen, with one involving a driver who isn’t insured.

Hit-and-run insurance facts provided by the Insurance Research Council in 2011 indicated one in seven drivers in the United States doesn’t carry auto insurance. It was believed at that time the economic struggles of the nation were a big reason. And because it hasn’t gotten much better, it’s probably safe to say that not much has changed with regard to the number of uninsured motorists.

West Virginia fell in the middle when it comes to the percentage of drivers without insurance in each state. It was estimated in 2009 that approximately 11 percent of motorists were not insured. Needless to say, the thought of being financially responsible for an accident can cause someone to leave.

Impairment

Another hit-and-run insurance fact is that drivers often flee the scene of an accident when impaired. People often justify to themselves that they will admit the crime later when they aren’t intoxicated. This way, they can’t be charged with a DUI -- only possibly causing and then fleeing the scene of an accident.

Traffic Violation

In other scenarios, the offender knows the accident was caused by a traffic offense. Whether it was running a red light, drag racing or excessive speeding, most of these are easily provable by using red-light cameras or having experts examine the scene of the accident’s skid marks and vehicle damage.

Hit-and-Run Insurance Facts: When You Get Injured

Whatever the circumstances surrounding a motorist’s decision not to remain at the scene of a crash, residents in West Virginia can at least turn to their auto insurance policies for help in covering damages. While some states only require drivers to carry liability insurance, in West Virginia, they are also mandated to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). 

Not only does UIM cover accident-related costs from a driver who doesn’t have insurance, but it also applies to hit-and-run crashes. Most times, the person’s health coverage will take care of medical expenses. But if the individual is unable to work for a period of time or sustained serious injuries that entitle him or her to other damages -- such as pain and suffering or disability -- UIM will generally pay for those costs.

Of course, it only covers up to the limits of the policy. The minimum amount required is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. Unfortunately, if the expenses exceed policy limits, then the victim has to cover the rest. But there is always the option to file a lawsuit if the driver gets caught.

The final hit-and-run insurance fact that one should bear in mind is the statute of limitations for filing a claim against a hit-and-run driver. In West Virginia, that is two years. Don’t wreck your West Virginia accident claim by waiting.

Getting the Help You Need After a Hit and Run Crash in Clarksburg

It’s best to consult legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident so efforts can begin to collect evidence. A Clarksburg attorney also can explain legal options because it’s possible that even if the driver is found, he or she might not have insurance. The Miley Legal Group has had success in its case results for a driver driving on a restricted license who was in an accident, and secured $120,000 in restitution for their client. To see how we can aid your claim, call 304-931-4088.