You’re driving down the street and a car hits you and keeps driving. You park your car in front of your house and come out in the morning to find your rear bumper laying on the ground. In either case, you have no way to find out who struck your vehicle. Your thoughts immediately turn to what this means for your insurance premiums.
What Is a Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run is when a person causes a vehicle accident and fails to stop and remain on the scene. These accidents can occur between two vehicles, between a vehicle and a pedestrian, or between a vehicle and property.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run, you will have to contact your own insurance company. The coverage that will pay out is your uninsured motorist coverage. The bodily injury portion of this coverage will pay for your medical bills, and the property damage portion will pay for your tangible losses.
If you don’t have this type of coverage, you really should. They are both relatively inexpensive to carry and can provide valuable protection. In most states, the coverage is mandatory if you have financed or leased a vehicle, but optional if you own the vehicle.
If you live in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana or Ohio, uninsured motorist property damage will not pay out in the event of a hit-and-run. Instead, your collision coverage will kick in. Typically, if it is your first accident, you won’t have to worry about your premiums jumping.
What If You Are the Hit-and-Run Driver?
Let’s say that you made an innocent mistake and weren’t aware that you hit something. You will still experience a significant increase in your insurance rates. Your insurance company will view you as a liability and raise your rates accordingly.
If you were involved in a hit-and-run and never reported the accident, your insurance company could drop you altogether. It will be difficult to find new insurance and, when you do, you can expect to pay higher rates than other drivers. The bad news is that your insurance rates aren’t all you need to worry about.
A hit-and-run driver could be held liable for medical bills and property damage. Your victim has the right to file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation. If the accident results in the death of another person, you could be charged criminally. You will face far greater consequences if you don’t stop than if you remain on scene and provide information to responders.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run in San Luis Obispo, reach out to our office. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. You don’t have to suffer financial difficulty due to someone’s negligence or reckless behavior.