An accident can happen to even the best of drivers. Unfortunately, you can't control the actions of the drivers around you. But when another driver hits you, what happens if they just drive away?
Rhode Island law requires any driver involved in an accident that causes property damage, injuries, or death to stop at the scene of the accident. Failure to do so is illegal and can come with serious penalties, including jail time and fines. Typically, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying all the costs of an accident, including your property damage and medical bills for any injuries. If the driver runs away, your options may be more limited.
Your Car Insurance
Your car insurance typically covers hit and run accidents if you have uninsured motorist coverage. You may have to pay a deductible, but your insurance should cover your property damage and medical bills up to the limit in your policy. Because your insurance company has the right to receive compensation from the person who hit you, they have a vested interest in helping to track down the culprit. Moreover, your insurance company may not raise your rates for utilizing your policy coverage.
Your Health Insurance
Suppose you don't have uninsured motorist coverage or don't have car insurance. In that case, you can use your health insurance benefits to cover your medical costs, including if a driver hits you while walking or bicycling. If you don't have medical insurance, you may qualify for state or federal programs like Medicaid.
If the police or your insurance company do track down the driver that hit you, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit, even if the driver is already facing criminal charges.
Whether you expect your insurance to cover your losses or not, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options. An experienced firm can often negotiate with insurance companies, including your own insurance company, to ensure that they fully reimburse you for your injuries and expenses.
If you've been in a hit and run accident, we can help. Just contact Inman & Tourgee online or call (401) 823-9200, and we can explore your options to compensate you for your losses.