Responsible drivers remain at the scene and call the police when they are involved in an accident. Some drivers, however, do not act responsibly and choose to leave the scene of the accident without identifying themselves.
Being involved in a hit and run accident can be scary, stressful, and overwhelming. If you are injured in the accident, you may be facing medical bills, repair or replacement costs for your vehicle, and other substantial expenses. You may also be unable to work now or in the future. With no information about the hit and run driver who caused the accident, it can feel like there is nowhere to turn for help.
Fortunately, you do not have to deal with the aftermath of a hit and run accident alone. Together with the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, you can pursue the option that is right for you and your family. Our Durham hit and run accident lawyers are ready to help you fight for compensation.
To learn more about the steps you can take after a hit and run accident, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 598-7557 for a free consultation.
Hit and Run Accident Statistics
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit and run accidents reached an all-time high in 2018, and more than one hit and run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads. From 2006 to 2018, an average of 682,000 hit and run accidents took place each year.
Although leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in most jurisdictions, many drivers who cause crashes still purposely do so. Some leave the scene simply because they caused an accident, but other hit and run drivers may have outstanding criminal warrants, no insurance, and/or no valid driver’s license. They may be driving a stolen vehicle or carrying illegal drugs. Whatever the case may be, hit and run accidents are unfortunately common.
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Durham, call 800-598-7557
Filing Claims Against Hit and Run Drivers
Typically, when another driver causes an accident that injures you, the driver provides you with their insurance information. You can then file a claim with the insurance company for compensation related to your injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages, and more. However, when you are the victim of a hit and run accident, filing an insurance claim is often not an option.
Thousands of hit and run accidents go unsolved across the nation every year. You may never be able to identify the driver who caused your accident, which makes it impossible for you to file an insurance claim. Furthermore, even if police are successful in finding the driver who caused your accident, the driver may not—and perhaps likely will not—have insurance coverage. As a result, the probability of you being able to file an insurance claim like you would in a typical car accident is not high.
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Seeking Compensation Through Your Uninsured Motorist Policy
In North Carolina, General Statutes (GS) §20-279.21 requires drivers to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage for their vehicles. As part of that liability coverage, drivers must also maintain uninsured motorist (UM) insurance. The amount of UM insurance that can cover your injuries after a hit and run accident depends on your policy limits for bodily injury liability coverage.
For example, if North Carolina state law requires that you maintain a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, then your UM coverage should be at least $30,000. If so, you can file a claim for compensation for bodily injuries against your UM policy for up to $30,000. Of course, you can also purchase insurance policies with higher amounts of UM coverage, which can expand your available compensation in a hit and run accident case. However, no policy can exceed $1 million in UM coverage for bodily injuries. Also, your UM coverage cannot be less than your bodily injury liability coverage.
UM for property damage operates in much the same way. Your UM coverage for property damage cannot be more than your liability coverage for property damage. The minimum liability coverage for property damage required by North Carolina state law is $25,000. This coverage also cannot exceed $1 million in UM coverage for property damage.
Furthermore, under state law, you may be able to obtain more compensation by stacking the available UM coverage onto various policies. For example, you can file a claim against the UM policy for the vehicle that you were driving at the time of the hit and run accident, as well as against the policy for your personal vehicle (if it is a different vehicle). Similarly, you can file claims against any UM policies on any vehicles registered to your address at the time of the collision. A Durham hit and run accident lawyer can help you navigate this entire process to maximize your compensation. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today to learn more.
Explore Your Legal Options
Suffering injuries in any sort of accident can be a difficult experience but falling victim to a hit and run driver can make your situation even more stressful. You may wonder how you will pay your medical bills or repair or replace your vehicle. Fortunately, you do have some options for seeking compensation. A Durham hit and run accident lawyer can review your case and help you choose the path that is most likely to benefit you.
Strict time limits apply to all personal injury claims, and injuries sustained in hit and run accidents are no exception. To begin the process of seeking compensation for your injuries, call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 598-7557.