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UnInsured Hit and Run? What you need to do.

  • Published: March 21, 2017
UnInsured Hit and Run? What you need to do.

Whether motorcycle, bicycle, automobile or pedestrian, a hit and run or uninsured accident can be devastating.

Try not to let the immediate anger, adrenaline and frustration cloud your senses and remember:

Call the police immediately. If someone is injured, request an ambulance. If not, ask the police to come to the scene right away. These days, police officers don’t normally go to accident scenes when no one reports injuries and there’s no delay in traffic, especially in Philadelphia.  Here’s a pro-tip if the driver is uninsured, tell the police that and they will respond: driving without insurance is a crime.

The problem is many uninsured motorists, know they are uninsured and won’t hang around very long. These scofflaws know that they know they’re only minutes away from having their cars live stopped, impounded, and either jailed or levied with a hefty fine.

Here are some tips if you’re in an uninsured motorist accident:

If the accident was a hit and run, do all you can to get a description of the driver, passengers, the license plate number, and an accurate description of the make, model, and year of his car.

If the motorist stops, make sure to get his name and contact information. Ask the motorist’s passengers for their names and addresses. Write down the car’s license plate number and a description of the car.

Take photographs of the uninsured motorist’s car, the car’s make and model, and his passengers. Take photographs of the scene, weather conditions, skid marks, damaged poles or guardrails, etc.

Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses. Ask the police officer for the “service number” for any arrest report he makes along with the separate police report about the accident.

If you or your passengers are hurt, ask that someone take you to the local emergency room. When it comes to injury accidents, symptoms may not show up for days and sometimes weeks after the accident.

Contact a personal injury attorney. An attorney can streamline investigations while you focus on recuperating from your injuries. Call Troy R. Crichton, Esq. at (267) 225-3317 so he can start working for you immediately. There is no fee until we win money for you.

According to the Insurance Research Council (“IRC”) approximately 1 in 6 drivers are uninsured.  There tend to be more uninsured or underinsured drivers in urban centers such as Philadelphia where is it more common for people to cut costs by having no or bare minimum insurance.

What happens when an uninsured driver causes an accident?

If an uninsured motorist injures you or you were the victim of a “hit and run,” someone will have to pay for your losses and those of your passengers. Unless you purchased uninsured motorist (UIM) or underinsured (UM) bodily injury insurance, you may face a dilemma. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, it will normally pay for up to 80 percent of your medical bills.

PIP limits are usually low and may not cover enough of your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering Uninsured motorist coverage will do that and more.  PIP coverage in Pennsylvania is $5,000.00 as required by law.  If you’ve ever been to an emergency room or taken an ambulance ride you probably know that $5,000 is not much money when talking about medical bills.

Carrying uninsured motorist coverage is an excellent and I’d say, necessary, way to supplement PIP. Depending on the limits you purchase, you can recover the same amount as if the uninsured driver had insurance. The insurance industry recommends motorists carry UIM coverage for a minimum amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.  To put this in perspective UM/UIM coverage protects you REGARDLESS of the other person’s insurance.  Wouldn’t you have more piece of mind riding around knowing that you’re protected?

Uninsured motorist coverage is similar to other liability insurance. In case of an accident with injuries, uninsured motorist coverage will pick up the bill for your:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Funeral expenses

Like other liability policies, the limits may vary from state to state and policy to policy. Pennsylvania does not require that you purchase UIM coverage.  If you purchase bodily injury coverage you should also purchase the same amount of UM/UIM coverage.  If you attempt to purchase less UIM coverage than bodily injury coverage in Pennsylvania state law requires that you decline it in writing.  This is called a UIM write down.

What if you’re a bicyclist or pedestrian and you don’t have insurance?

Seek a consultation with an attorney immediately.  You may be able to make a claim under a “resident relative’s” insurance policy, even if you are not a named insured.  Furthermore, an attorney will be able to investigate and determine other sources of insurance coverage. Perhaps the perpetrator was intoxicated and leaving from a bar? Perhaps he can be identified by surveillance footage? or perhaps someone else caused a dangerous road condition that caused the accident. An experienced attorney will be able to investigate all possibilities to make sure you have a full and complete recovery.

Troy Crichton

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