I was recently out at an event with some old friends when an interesting conversation came up. Someone was explaining how one of their neighbors was driving home from work one night and she was struck by another car that ran a stop sign. The collision between the vehicles was rather serious and it caused this woman to be thrown about forcefully inside her car. The worst part of the story was that the other driver took off. The woman wasn’t able to get the license plate and only recalled that it was a dark colored car.
The woman suffered a back injury in the car crash, which was later determined to be a herniated disc. The man telling the story explained how he felt bad for his neighbor because the other driver took off from the scene and now she is left with medical bills, serious pain and there was nothing she could do about it. Of course, as a personal injury attorney specializing in these types of accidents, I chimed in. I explained how there is insurance coverage for hit and run accidents.
Your Own Auto Insurance Policy (Uninsured Coverage) Will Cover Hit & Run Accidents
As we all know, our motor vehicles must be insured in order to register and operate them on the roads in Massachusetts. There are portions of the standard Massachusetts auto insurance policy that are legally required to have. The required insurance coverage is called compulsory insurance. The compulsory insurance coverage that is relevant to the story above are Personal Injury Protection, and Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal Injury Protection (or PIP for short) are certain auto insurance benefits available from your own insurance company that are available to cover the cost of medical treatment for injuries related to the car accident. The PIP coverage will pay medical bills and expenses as well as a percentage of any lost wages for an occupant of the car that is misses work due to their injuries. PIP offers up to $8,000 of benefits or $2,000 for medical bills if you have private health insurance.
So, in the story above, the injured woman could at least have $8,000 (or $2,000) of PIP benefits from her own insurance to cover the costs of her medical treatment or lost wages. This is true even if the accident was her fault because PIP benefits are “no fault” benefits.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The laws in Massachusetts also require auto insurance policies to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Uninsured Motorist Coverage (or UM) is available to cover damages caused by a negligent driver that doesn’t have insurance or a negligent driver that takes off from the scene of the accident and cannot be identified. In Massachusetts the laws require the minimum amount of $20,000/$40,000 of Uninsured Coverage ($20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident), but you can always purchase more Uninsured coverage to make sure you are fully covered if you are ever injured in a hit-and-run accident. The amount of auto insurance coverage is very important in injury cases.
In the story told above, the injured woman could file an Uninsured Motorist claim with her own auto insurance company in order to seek full and fair compensation for the injuries and damages she suffered in the hit-and-run accident. The only catch is, unlike PIP benefits, the accident must have been caused by the other driver’s negligence or carelessness.
So, basically, in a hit-and-run accident your own insurance will be available to cover your damages.
If You Are Injured In A Hit & Run Accident – Speak With An Experienced Attorney
If you have been hurt in a hit and run car accident you are not out of luck. You should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts. A skilled accident attorney will review your case, research insurance coverage and advocate to secure financial compensation for your injuries and damages.
For answers to any questions you have about an accident case or if you want a free case evaluation, feel free to contact us online or call us at (508) 879-3500. We are happy to answer your questions and explain what your legal rights are.