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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
Contributor •

Hit and Run Accidents–What You Need to Know

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Hit and run accidents are covered under your UIM policy. (UIM policy uses the term “phantom driver”.) But you have to satisfy sever requirements in order to recover benefits.

1. You have to report the accident to police right away. When you make the report be sure to obtain a report or incident number.

2. You have to establish your damages. Your insurance company is in an adversarial position. It will make you prove every element of your damages and may not pay you even if your evidence is solid.

3. You have to make your claim within the applicable statute of limitations. The limitations period can be established by the policy or statute. There is some debate whether the statutory period (if the policy is silent) starts to run when the injury occurs or when the carrier refuses to pay UIM benefits. It is possible in some cases to assert a UIM claim even if the statute of limitations has run against the at-fault driver.

4. You have to determine–if the carrier won’t pay you–whether you have a policy that has an arbitration or a “sue us” clause. It’s a lot better to have a policy that calls for arbitration. It’s faster, less expensive and the results are typically better for the injured person than bench or jury trials.

UIM claims are a lot like other kinds of personal injury lawsuits. Just because the claim is being made against your “own” insurance company don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. If your injuries are significant, you’re going to need help to maximize the value of your claim. Don’t go it alone.