When one motorist hits another motorist’s vehicle, they must, by law, remain at the scene of the accident. While most motorists uphold their legal duty, some decide to flee instead. If you sustained injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver, you will likely fear that you will cover all your expenses out-of-pocket. You must understand, though, that you have ways to collect compensation after a hit-and-run collision.
Understanding your insurance options
Kentucky has a no-fault insurance system. Under it, any claim you file after an auto accident must go through your insurance company. This system also prevents you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist in most cases. Yet, you might have opted out of the state’s no-fault system when you purchased your auto insurance policy. If you did, you would have the option of bringing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. After a hit-and-run accident, though, your ability to do so will depend on whether the police find them.
If the police did not find the at-fault motorist – or if you did not opt out of the no-fault system – you may assume that you will file a claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits after your accident. Keep in mind, though, that basic PIP coverage in the state provides only $10,000 in benefits per person. Your coverage may have a higher limit, but your medical bills and lost wages could quickly exceed it. Furthermore, if you opted out of Kentucky’s no-fault system, your insurance policy will not include PIP coverage.
You also have the option of making your claim through your insurance policy’s uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Your UM limits are likely higher than your PIP limits and can equal – but not exceed – your policy’s liability coverage limits. Unlike your PIP coverage, your UM coverage will also provide for pain and suffering. If your injuries have had lasting effects, these additional benefits could prove helpful.
Understanding your legal options
It is possible that the payout from your insurance claim will fail to cover your expenses and losses. In this case, if the police find the hit-and-run driver, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. You will have little difficulty proceeding with a lawsuit if you opted out of Kentucky’s no-fault insurance system. If you did not, you must prove that you incurred over $1,000 in medical expenses and sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident. In either case, under Kentucky’s statute of limitations, you have one year from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit.
Your options for collecting compensation after a hit-and-run accident may depend on whether the police find the at-fault driver. In either case, a personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and help you chart a path forward.