Lesson 28: Don’t Give Up Your Accident Claim Just Because You Don’t Know Who Hit You

From the Land Mines in Accident Cases section of How You Can Avoid Legal Land Mines by Joseph S. Lyles (2003).

Drivers who cause accidents and then flee the scene (hit-and-runs) are more common than you may think. And people who drive cars with no insurance coverage (uninsureds) are not uncommon either. If you are involved in a wreck with a hit-and-run or an uninsured driver, don’t just give up and assume you have to cover the resulting damages from your own pocket.

Contact your insurance company or an attorney and explain that you are making an uninsured claim, meaning that someone hit you and you are not sure what, if any, insurance coverage that person has. Most states require that drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage, which is a type of insurance that covers you if you are the victim of an accident caused by an uninsured driver. You should have such coverage available to you in these situations.

If the driver fled the scene and you don’t know who or where that person is, then you have a type of uninsurance claim now as a John Doe claim. If you were simply run off the road by a John Doe, and his car did not actually collide with your vehicle, then you must have an independent witness to the way the accident occurred in some states, such as South Carolina.

The Lesson: Don’t give up on your claim in the case of a hit and run. You don’t need to know all the details about making a claim against a hit-and-run or uninsured driver because your attorney will know how to make the claim. Just be aware that you still have the right to make a claim and contact your insurance company or a lawyer in these situations.