According to West Virginia law, any motorist involved in a crash must stop their vehicle and swap information with other motorists. This law is crystal clear, and any violation is either a misdemeanor or a felony offense.
Sadly, hundreds of motorists flee the scene of the accident each year. They leave behind badly injured people who need help—but no one is around. At Salango Law, we seek some measure of justice for hit-and-run accident victims. Even if the police never catch the motorist who hit you, you can still receive compensation in many cases. To learn how, please reach out to our West Virginia car accident attorney for more information.
Can I Make A Claim On My Insurance?
It depends on the policy. All motorists in West Virginia must carry liability insurance. However, this insurance only covers injuries and damage caused to other people. You can’t make a claim for your own injuries on your liability insurance.
Helpfully, West Virginia requires that motorists carry uninsured motorist insurance. This policy will cover a hit-and-run accident, provided you are not at fault.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Insurance Do I Have?
Check your policy. The state requires a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury insurance, up to $50,000 when two or more people are hurt. The portion for property damage covers up to $25,000.
More coverage can be purchased, up to $50,000 for property damage and, $100,000 for bodily injuries, up to $300,000 per accident. It would be ideal to have selected these higher limits since much more compensation is available.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?
You can use the property damage portion to get your car fixed. Even minor accidents tend to cause thousands of dollars in car repairs, so this is good insurance to have. You won’t have to pay out of pocket once you cover your deductible.
The bodily injury portion should cover the following:
- Medical care to treat your injuries
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
What If I Was At Fault For The Hit-And-Run?
In this situation, you can’t make a claim on your uninsured motorist coverage if you bear the majority of the blame for the wreck. Instead, you will need to look to other possible insurance coverage. Or you may have to suffer the costs without any compensation.
Do I Need A West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer To Make An Uninsured Motorist Claim?
You might. Because fault matters, your insurer might deny your claim and allege you are responsible for the accident. This sometimes happens. Even though you pay the premiums for your UM coverage, insurers still try to pad their bottom line. They often reject even valid insurance claims.
A lawyer can help with this type of insurance claim by:
- Investigating the crash to determine the fault
- Presenting your claim to your insurer in a logical way
- Negotiating with an insurer to increase the amount offered
- Appealing any rejection of your claim
Speak to a Charleston, WV, car accident lawyer at Salango Law to find out if we can help you today.
What Other Insurance Covers A Hit-And-Run Accident?
You might have other policies, such as those listed below.
You can use health insurance to pay for medical care. You might have a policy through your job, or you could have bought a policy on the exchanges. If you receive a settlement, your insurer will probably request reimbursement from the total settlement amount.
Medical Payments Coverage
This is optional coverage that some people carry. In some states, medical payments, also called personal injury protection, is no-fault insurance that can pay for medical care. Most people who have it only carry a few thousand in coverage. However, it is helpful for paying for immediate care. It can usually cover a health insurance deductible.
Collision is optional insurance for most drivers, but if you have a car loan, your insurer will require you to carry it. It is “no-fault” insurance, so you can use it even if you are to blame for the crash.
Will The Police Search For The Person Who Hit Me?
Yes. However, police resources are limited, and there might not be any leads. If you suffered only property damage, then the police are less likely to search. But if you suffered serious bodily injuries, then the fleeing motorist committed a felony.
What Evidence Should I Share With The Police?
Be sure to call the police after a hit-and-run accident. They need to know what happened, and you want a paper record that you called. Also, share what you know about the driver, including:
- The make and model of the car
- The car’s color
- Any bumper stickers or identifying marks on the car
- The license plate number, if you saw it
- The direction the car sped away in
- Any details about the driver behind the wheel (gender, race, hair color, glasses, etc.)
The police could track the suspect and issue a public bulletin using this information.
Can I Sue The Motorist If The Police Find Them?
Yes. You can make a claim on the driver’s car insurance. Of course, one reason many people flee is that they lack insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 9.2% of West Virginia drivers are uninsured. If that’s the case for your accident, then you can bring a lawsuit against the driver personally.
What Steps Should I Take After A Hit-And-Run?
The steps you take are crucial for your successful recovery and the protection of your legal rights. We recommend the following:
- Call the police to the scene of the accident.
- Request an ambulance if anyone at the scene needs one.
- Take pictures of your car and anything at the accident scene that seems relevant.
- Write down what you remember about the car and driver if you saw them.
- Go to the hospital when you finish with the police at the accident scene.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan, including all recommended rehabilitation.
- Contact a West Virginia car accident lawyer.
By taking these steps, you can improve the odds of bringing a successful claim.
Seasoned Hit And Run Car Accident Lawyers
The days and nights following a hit-and-run are confusing. Many people feel outraged that a negligent driver hurt them but didn’t stop. We offer our sympathies. At Salango Law, our accident lawyers in Charleston excel at helping hit-and-run victims seek compensation for their losses. If you call today at (304) 342-0512, we can set up a free consultation. Also, connect with us online.