Who Pays the Damages in a Hit and Run Case?

If you can find the hit and run driver who took off after causing a crash, you may be able to collect money for your damages from the driver or their insurance company. If the driver cannot be found, coverage may be available through your own uninsured motorist (UM) or personal injury protection (PIP) policy.

Attempting to collect for damages after a hit and run accident is particularly frustrating for victims. You are dealing with pain, injuries, and damage to your vehicle at a time when you may be unable to work. Pennsylvania laws regarding hit and run and personal injury are complicated, and insurance companies will try to get you to accept the lowest amount possible. Fortunately, a Pennsylvania hit and run lawyer can help handle the legal hurdles involved in getting compensation for your losses.

Damages for Hit and Run in Pennsylvania

Under 75 Pa. Cons.Stat. § 3744, drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury to or death of any persons or damage to any vehicles or other property must provide their names, addresses, and the registration numbers of the vehicles they are driving. If they fail to do so and leave the accident scene, it is considered a “hit and run” accident. Leaving the scene is also a criminal offense.

If the hit and run driver is apprehended, you will be able to file a claim or lawsuit against the driver. In a successful case, you may be entitled to compensation for:

Economic damages, for your monetary costs such as:

  • property damage
  • medical and rehabilitative expenses
  • lost current and future wages

Non-economic damages, for costs that do not have a specific dollar value, such as:

  • pain and suffering
  • loss of consortium and life’s enjoyment
  • emotional distress
  • humiliation

In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages if the hit and run driver’s conduct is found to be especially egregious, such as driving while intoxicated.

Going Through Your Own Insurance

If you must turn to your own insurance for compensation, the amount you can receive will depend on the coverage you have in your policy.

Drivers in Pennsylvania have the option of choosing between “full tort” and no-fault “limited tort” coverage. For limited tort, your own insurance company should pay for all reasonable and appropriate forms of medical care, up to the limits of your policy. However, you are prohibited from suing unless the accident resulted in “serious injury,” such as death or disfigurement.

If you are using your own insurance company under the no-fault system, you can recover only economic damages. In Pennsylvania, regardless of who caused the car accident, your own auto policy covers medical bills under the PIP medical coverage.

If you have Uninsured Motorist coverage you can receive an amount up to the maximum amount of coverage you purchased. If you exhaust your PIP benefits, then your health insurance coverage would kick in.

Get Help from an Attorney After a Hit and Run Accident

After a hit and run accident, the vehicle accident lawyers at Wapner Newman can help by:

  • Investigating the accident and collecting evidence
  • Tracking down the offending driver
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Taking your case to court if necessary

To make sure you get the maximum compensation available to you, work with an attorney who knows the Pennsylvania laws and who has experience with hit and run cases.

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