Have you ever returned from a day of shopping at the mall and found a huge dent on the side of your vehicle? Of, have you been side-swiped by a driver late at night who then decided to take off rather than stopping to do the right thing? For whatever reason, hit and run accidents appear to be on the rise. Whether due to impairment by alcohol or drugs or through shear carelessness, many drivers are getting away with damaging your car and leaving you stuck with the bill. However, don’t be discouraged, as there may be ways of protecting yourself.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to maintain a minimum liability coverage of 25/50/25. This coverage provides for $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and $25,000 in property damage or what is known as “uninsured motorist coverage” or “UM Coverage”. UM Coverage may cover you for your medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering and emotional distress stemming from your hit and run accident. However, since medical expenses often tend to be enormously high, especially when you have been seriously injured, having substantial UM coverage above Oklahoma’s state minimum is highly recommended. For those that reside in high density areas, it is especially important to consider getting the maximum amount of UM Coverage available in order to protect yourself and your vehicle.
To increase your chances of succeeding on an UM claim due to a hit-and-run accident, you must immediately report the incident to the police department. Also, most insurance companies require that you promptly report the accident to them, typically within thirty days. Additional steps that you can take to protect yourself in the event of a hit and run accident are as follows:
- Try to get the make, model and license plate number of the car that struck you.
- Do not have the damages to your car repaired prior to allowing your insurance company to inspect the vehicle in its post-accident condition.
- Get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident, which will help your insurance company to fully investigate the accident.
- If your car was hit while in a public place, there is a good chance that the accident may have been recorded, especially in a secured parking lot of a mall or other type of shopping center. Be sure to check your surroundings after you have been hit and see whether the incident may have been caught on camera. Speak with store personnel, advising them of the accident and inquire as to the procedures necessary to review their camera footage.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a hit and run accident, the time to act is now. Only an experienced Oklahoma auto accident attorney can fully evaluate the facts of your case and advise you of your legal options. Call my office now to find out how I can help fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.