If you're in a car accident, stopping to check on the other people involved isn't just the right thing to do - it's also the law.
Still, hit-and-run accidents happen far more than they ought to. If you or a loved one is ever injured by a hit-and-run driver, your own car insurance can step in to cover the losses that otherwise would have been paid by the at-fault driver. But, there are a few things you should know about this process.
Call the police right away
You should always call the police after a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, and the police will want to investigate.
Moreover, your insurance company will likely require a police report to prove that the accident happened. Even if the police don't come to investigate the scene of the accident, it's important that there is an official report.
Don't wait to get medical care
After a car crash, a lot of people wait to get care because they're worried about paying the medical bills. They don't realize that their own auto insurance will cover the expenses.
In New York, every driver is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage is often called "no-fault insurance" because it will pay for the medical care needed after a car accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Waiting to get care will only make it harder for your injuries to heal. Be sure your doctor notes in your records that your injuries were caused by a car accident. This will make it easier to process the claim with your PIP insurer.
You can still recover compensation
Even if the other driver is never located, you can still make a claim for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. In a hit-and-run accident, these claims are covered by the victim's uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is included in every car insurance policy sold in New York.
However, don't expect making this claim to be easy just because it's your own insurer. Insurance companies defend uninsured motorist claims just as aggressively as they defend claims against an at-fault driver. If you've been seriously or permanently injured, it is always in your best interest to get help from a personal injury attorney.