Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton

Hit And Run Car Accidents In Arizona


Being in a car accident can be a scary time, particularly when you are not at fault and need to file a legal claim to seek compensation for the damages you suffered as a result of the wreck. But if the vehicle that caused your accident or hit your car leaves the scene and is never identified, there is no clear “at fault” or liability insurance company you can file a claim against. But you can still recover damages with the help of a car accident lawyer phoenix.

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

A hit and run is an accident that occurs like any other, as a collision between two vehicles, a car hitting a pedestrian, or a one-car accident that may damage property. The difference between a hit-and-run and other auto accidents is that a hit and run driver flees the scene of the accident to avoid being penalized for their part in the wreck.

Arizona laws are very strict on hit-and-run motorists, with it being illegal to leave the scene of an accident in which you are involved. When you are in an accident, you must stay at the scene until police officers arrive. At the very least, you must stay as close to that scene as possible without endangering yourself. If you need to move out of the way of danger, you can do that but must remain with the other victims of the accident until law enforcement arrives to complete an accident report.

If you leave the scene of the accident before being acknowledged and released by the police, your collision may be classified as a hit and run accident. Hit and run also refers to accident victims who refuse to provide their personal information to other accident parties. There are serious ramifications for people who commit hit and run in Arizona and you may suffer those if you simply refuse to fulfill the obligations associated with a car accident scene, such as providing your contact and insurance information or remaining at the scene for police to complete an accident report.

When You Are the Victim of a Hit and Run

If you suffered injuries or other damages in an accident with a hit and run driver, you may be worried about being able to recover expenses of your accident. When you do not know who hit you and whether they have insurance, it can be difficult to understand what you must pay and what is covered by insurance. Obviously, if the hit and run driver is ever located, you can file a claim against their insurance.

If the at-fault hit and run driver is never found, your own insurance coverage may provide compensation for your damages. You have to look at your policy to determine whether you have uninsured motorist coverage, also known as “UM” coverage. UM coverage is generally designed to help you cover costs when you are in an accident with a driver who is not insured. But in many cases, UM coverage will also cover a hit and run driver accident.

When you are the victim in a hit and run, you can file for benefits under your UM coverage. Contrary to popular belief, this will not raise your insurance rates, because you have paid premiums for this coverage and you were not at fault in the accident.

Under UM coverage on your policy, you may also be able to recover bodily injury expenses, economic losses from lost income, personal property losses and future earnings that are lost due to the accident injuries. Your policy may also cover “no fault” wage loss and medical benefits under separate coverage to make up for lost income and pay medical bills and treatment expenses up to the limit of your insurance policy.

What You Must Prove for Uninsured Motorist Coverage for a Hit and Run Accident

Under an uninsured motorist claim, you still must prove that the accident was the other party’s fault, not yours. You must also prove that the injuries you sustained were caused by the accident, just as other damages should be proven to be related to the collision. Just as you would for a legal claim against another driver’s insurance, you will need to provide documentation and other records from medical care, diagnostic tests, examinations, photos and other means of proving your injuries were caused by the accident.

This uninsured motorist coverage is a key part of your auto insurance policy. It protects you and your family from major financial loss when you are in an accident with a hit and run or otherwise uninsured motorist.

There are additional types of coverage you can add to your policy to provide even greater protection, such as underinsured motorist coverage for accidents as part of which the at-fault driver has low coverage through their policy. Underinsured motorist coverage will pick up where that driver’s policy limits have been reached and provide compensation for your injuries and other damages to help defray the costs.

Legal Help for Hit and Run Accidents in Arizona

If you have been involved in an Arizona hit and run accident and suffered injuries and property damage, you may need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer phoenix. This attorney can help you gain what you deserve from insurance companies involved in your accident and may be able to direct you to other means of recovering compensation from your accident.

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