I Was Involved in a Hit and Run. Do I Still Have a Case?
One thing that can make a car accident worse is having the person who caused it flee the scene of the crash. Without the driver’s name, license plate number, or insurance information, how can you file a claim for your injuries and the damages to your vehicle?
Perpetrators drive off for a variety of reasons, such as if they have been drinking or taking drugs, don’t have liability insurance on their vehicle as required by law, or face losing their driver’s license if they get any more points.
The fact is that those involved in auto accidents are required to remain at the scene until law enforcement release them. It certainly is not fair if the driver who caused the crash flees, leaving you to hold the proverbial bag for your injuries and damages. If you’re wondering, “Can I file an accident claim after a hit and run?” the answer is, “Yes.” However, you will not take the same steps as you would have had the at-fault driver stayed.
Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys can help you explore your options for financial compensation and pursue the maximum settlement you deserve. At Denning Law Firm, LLC, we serve personal injury clients throughout Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City and Overland Park, Kansas.
Missouri Is an At-Fault State for Auto Insurance
As an at-fault state, Missouri holds the driver whose negligence caused a crash financially responsible for those they injure. All accidents involved uninsured motorists, injuries, deaths, or those that result in more than $500 in property damage must be reported.
Auto owners are required by law to carry liability insurance with minimum limits per accident of $25,000 per person; $50,000 for multiple persons injured; and $25,000 for property damage, or 25/50/25 coverage. When auto owners purchase a liability policy, insurance companies must abide by an uninsured/underinsured motorist provision, which offers the same per-person limits for uninsured motorist coverage. Of course, you can buy coverage with higher limits than the minimums. If you do, your uninsured motorist limits will match, and that can make a huge difference in your recovery.
If you have been injured in a hit and run in Missouri, you can file a claim for your medical payment benefits if you have that coverage included in your policy. Med pay can be used to pay for medical expenses. You can also file a claim for up to the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage. That is because the law approaches the fact that the responsible party fleeing the scene as the same as them not having insurance, since you do not know whether they have coverage or not.
Kansas Is a No-Fault State for Auto Insurance
Claims work differently in Kansas auto accidents because, unlike Missouri, it is a no-fault state for auto insurance. Any accident that involves injuries or death, a fleeing party, or property damage exceeding $1,000 must be reported. In Kansas, you would first access your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which is referred to as “no-fault insurance.”
Your PIP coverage can be used for medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost income, and to reimburse you for services you are unable to perform due to your injuries, such as hiring someone to clean your house or transportation to and from doctor’s appointments. Your PIP policy will pay up to your limits. Kansas auto owners are required to have PIP coverage of at least $4,500 for medical expenses, $4,500 for rehabilitation expenses, $900 per month for up to a year if you are unable to work, $25 per day for in-home services, and $2,000 for funeral, burial, and cremation.
Despite the fact that Kansas is a no-fault state, auto owners are also required to carry liability insurance with minimum limits the same as in Missouri, 25/50/25. In addition, under the uninsured/underinsured motorist provision, they must have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage.
If the injuries you sustain in a hit and run exceed the limits of your PIP coverage, you can file a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Hit and Run?
Hit and run accidents can happen to anyone. The best thing anyone can do is to be prepared and know what steps to take if one happens to you.
First, you should get to safety and, under no circumstances, attempt to pursue the driver fleeing the scene of the crash. Instead, dial 911 so the proper law enforcement agency and emergency responders can be dispatched to the scene.
Next, take a moment to write down anything you remember about the vehicle that fled. This could include the vehicle color, make, and model, any numbers or letters from the license plate or the state of issuance. Jot down any characteristics you recall, such as dents, parking permits, or bumper stickers. If you caught a glimpse of the driver, write down what you remember. Then note your recollection of how the crash occurred. If there are witnesses, write down their names and contact information, and ask them if they remember anything about the absent vehicle, the driver, or the sequence of events.
Then, you will need to contact your insurance company so they will open a claim. Inform the adjuster that the at-fault driver and vehicle fled the scene.
Finally, talk to an experienced car accident attorney. Just because you are filing claims against your own insurance policy does not mean the insurance company will treat you any differently than it would if you filed a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. You are still facing a fight. Improve your odds by working with your own attorney.
Protect Your Health With the Support of an Attorney
Your physical recovery from your injuries will be hampered by the stress of trying to recover a just amount of money for your injuries and damages. Our father-daughter team of car accident and personal injury attorneys at Denning Law Firm, LLC, are here to take care of everything they can so you can recover from your injuries and recover compensation for your damages.
If you have been injured in a hit and run in Kansas City, Missouri, or in Kansas City or Overland Park, Kansas, call us today to schedule a free case consultation. We will stand by your side through the entire claims process.