What are my options after a hit-and-run accident?

Frank S. Clowney III

Bicyclists and pedestrians are prone to suffering serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident. This is because full-sized vehicles are much heavier than a pedestrian or a bicycle. Full-sized vehicles also travel at higher speeds. And of course, pedestrians and bicyclists are much more vulnerable in an accident, compared to occupants of cars and trucks. After striking a bicyclist or pedestrian, the driver of the motor vehicle may be able to drive off with little or no trouble.

Of course, doing so is against California law, but too many motorists choose to avoid responsibility for their behavior and drive off after a major accident.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officers are sometimes not able to find the responsible driver. In other cases, the driver may eventually be caught, but they also may not have automobile insurance or any other reliable means to pay compensation.

The bottom line is a victim of a hit-and-run pedestrian or bicycle accident may not be responsible for their injuries, yet they still can have great difficulty obtaining compensation for their losses from the negligent party.

Uninsured motorist coverage, other coverages may be available to victims

A hit-and-run victim may be able to claim uninsured motorist benefits through their own insurance company if they purchased insurance as part of their own automobile policy.

These benefits are in place to protect people from hit-and-run drivers as well as those who do not have automobile insurance. Up to the available limit, the benefits can cover hospital bills, lost wages and other eligible expenses and losses.

On a related note, underinsured motorist coverage might be available if a victim has suffered serious injuries and the responsible driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay compensation.

Insurance carriers are not always willing to pay these benefits at all without a fight, and they may also push back against a victim’s legitimate expenses.

This is one reason why a victim would want an experienced advocate to guide them through a claim.  Aside from uninsured motorist benefits, other legal options may also be available to victims.