How to Handle a Hit and Run Claim in Wilmington
In North Carolina, required motor vehicle insurance includes not just liability coverage but also uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This means those who are involved in collisions are going to be able to turn to their own insurance company if a driver hurts them but that driver cannot pay. Knowing how to handle a North Carloina hit-and-run claim is important in case you become involved with a driver who strikes your vehicle and drives away. Whether that hit-and-run driver is ever found, there is a good chance you will need to rely on your insurer to cover costs.
How to Handle a Hit-and-Run Claim in Wilmington
If a hit-and-run driver is not found, your uninsured motorist coverage is going to pay for losses the driver should have covered. If the driver is found by police after an investigation, there is a good chance the motorist will have insufficient insurance or no insurance at all. Many drivers leave accident scenes because they have no insurance and/or do not have a valid license. They may not have the money to personally pay you, so without an insurance policy, going after them is not going to be useful to you. You could get a judgment against the uninsured driver, but would have a difficult time enforcing it because you cannot take money from someone who does not have any.
Since you will need to turn to your insurer to pay the bills if the diver is never found, or if he is found but has no insurance, the key to handling a hit-and-run claim is to alert your own insurance company as soon as possible. You should call the insurer after the accident, report the collision, and tell the insurance company the other driver fled the scene. If the other driver caused the crash and should have been responsible for paying, but won't pay, then your insurer should cover costs and losses. If you were the one responsible for causing the accident, uninsured motorist coverage does not apply. You'd have to see if you have optional collision and personal injury coverage if you wanted to get your own insurer to pay for a crash you caused.
You have to show the insurer the hit-and-run driver was to blame. The insurer may conduct an investigation into the crash. You should contact the police after the accident so the police can provide a report to the insurer about how the accident happened (the police also help you try to find the hit-and-run driver).
If it is clear the hit-and-run driver is at fault, your insurer should process your uninsured motorist claim in a timely and efficient manner, according to the claims-handling procedure outlined in your insurance policy. If the insurance company is not reasonable in its claims processing, you can pursue an action for bad faith. An experienced attorney can often help you to negotiate a settlement agreement with your insurer to get you reasonable compensation for losses.