Most of the time, the drivers involved in a crash stop and start communicating with each other right after the wreck. Arizona actually requires that drivers stop and contact authorities if a collision causes property damage or injured either person.
Unfortunately, many people facing the expensive responsibilities of the property damage and injuries they just caused flee to avoid the consequences. Hit-and-run crashes occur when one of the drivers involved does not stop and instead leaves the scene, ostensibly to avoid identification and then obligation to compensate the other party for property damage or injuries caused by the crash.
Although hit-and-run crashes are rare compared with other forms of car wrecks, they have become a more pressing concern in recent years. Researchers know an alarming increase in the number of hit-and-run pedestrian fatalities, in particular. What rights do you have after a hit-and-run crash?
You can expect the state to help
Especially if a hit-and-run caused severe injury or death, you can expect police officers to dedicate resources toward locating the driver who fled the scene. An aggressive and timely police investigation could result in the police tracking down the driver responsible.
That driver may then face not just a citation for the initial crash but also the criminal consequences for leaving the scene of the wreck. They will open themselves up to both an insurance claim and possibly civil litigation by the people affected by the crash.
Insurance may also assist you
If the police locate the driver who caused the hit-and-run crash, you can likely make a claim against their liability coverage. If the police don’t find the other driver or if that driver turns out to not have insurance, then you will have to look at your own coverage for help.
If you paid for extra coverage on your policy, like uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, collision coverage or comprehensive coverage, your policy might help pay for some of your expenses. If you did not invest in those extra forms of coverage, then the sad truth is that insurance maybe a little assistance to you.
Drivers who understand the risk of encountering uninsured motorists or of experiencing a hit-and-run crash may see the value in adding extra coverage to their own policy to protect them when someone else’s misconduct leave them financially vulnerable. They will also act more quickly to assert their rights after a wreck. Knowing the rights you have after a motor vehicle collision can help you invest in the right insurance coverage now and stand up for yourself after a crash.