Who pays the personal injury expenses for a hit and run accident?
Accident Injuries from a hit-and-run driver are the responsibility of your insurance carrier
Hit-and-run accidents are frustrating because they leave behind damage and injury — and no one for your insurance company to contact. When the person who hit you drives off without giving you or witnesses any information, it may seem like you’re stuck with the bill for all car repair and medical costs. In Wisconsin, this is not necessarily the case. A hit-and-run driver is technically responsible for an accident, but if you can’t find the person, your uninsured motorist coverage might take over.
Per Wisconsin law, if someone hits you and does not stick around, that person is liable for the accident once you or the police find them. But what if you never find them? While witnesses and security videos from nearby businesses and homes are often the keys to locating a hit-and-run driver, they aren’t 100 percent guaranteed to reel the driver in. Even if you do eventually find the person, your bills will become due in the meantime.
A court case from 2010 holds your answer. That year, the Wisconsin Law Journal reported that a court had decided that the definition of a hit-and-run driver was not as cut and dried as it seemed. A family had sought uninsured-motorist coverage after an accident that left their son injured. He had been hit, the driver asked him if he was injured, and he said no, so the driver left. However, it turned out there were injuries — accident injuries often take some time to show up because of the masking effect of adrenaline after an accident — so the family wanted coverage for bills from their insurance company.
While the claims were denied at first, the court ruled that insurance coverage didn’t dovetail well with the criminal definition of hit and run. It decided that a reasonable — that word is important — expectation of the insured would be to receive coverage. The upshot is that, if you don’t have the other driver’s information, you may be able to get your bills covered through your uninsured motorist coverage.
If you need help dealing with a hit-and-run driver who has been caught or getting coverage under an uninsured motorist policy, talk to Eisenberg Law Offices about your options. You should not have to be stuck paying all these bills because of someone else’s actions.