Every time you get behind the wheel, you know there might be a risk of an accident. Sometimes these crashes happen purely incidentally, and other times through negligence or recklessness. Whatever the reason, we trust that the other driver will admit their mistakes and take responsibility. Unfortunately, many people do not take responsibility and flee the scene in what is legally known as a hit-and-run accident.
If you are ever the victim of a hit-and-run accident, one of the things you might wonder is whether your insurance rates will increase even though you were an innocent bystander. Obviously, because the other car has left the scene, there may not be another insurance company involved to process your claim.
It’s an understandable worry, but the short answer is that it is highly unlikely that you’ll see your insurance rates increase as a result of a hit-and-run accident. Here are some of the reasons why and what you should do if you ever fall victim to a hit-and-run.
How Common Are Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Car accidents exact a high toll. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) puts the economic cost of car wrecks annually at more than $240 billion and rising. In 2020, there were close to 36,000 crashes in the United States involving more than 54,000 cars. Those crashes took the lives of 38,824 people, the DOT says. The accident and fatality rate has been climbing since 2015.
The American Automobile Association estimates the number of hit-and-run crashes each year at about 700,000, and this number has also been rising. Hit-and-runs are also becoming more deadly — the number of fatalities grew 26% in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of that figure, about 1,500 fatalities were pedestrians, and 1,000 were bicyclists.
In 2016, Nevada ranked the fourth highest in the rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes compared to other states.
What To Do After a Hit-and-Run
While being in an accident is startling enough, the aftermath can be even more upsetting when it involves a driver who flees the scene. Still, keeping calm can help set you on the road to recovery, despite the stressful circumstances.
If you are not injured or only have minor injuries, you should still try to gather as much evidence about what happened as you possibly can. Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if someone is hurt, is a severe offense, and the police will be looking for assistance in finding the other car or cars involved in the hit-and-run accident.
According to Insurance.com, one of the most beneficial things you can do is to capture as much documentation as possible at the moment, including:
- Distinguishing characteristics of the other car, such as the make and model.
- The physical appearance of the driver.
- Details or descriptions about what happened and how it happened. If possible, draw a diagram showing cross streets and car positions before and after.
- Contact information of anyone who may have seen what happened.
- Photos of the accident scene, including the damage to your car and any surrounding property damage.
- Notes on nearby businesses that might have closed-circuit cameras that recorded the accident.
Besides cooperating with the police, it’s especially important to report the accident to your insurance company. While it is generally true that hit-and-runs do not increase accident rates, you may still need help paying for your repairs through a claim against your policy. While making a claim when it wasn’t your fault is inconvenient, your best bet is to report it to your insurance company as you likely have coverages that can help you repair your car and get you back behind the steering wheel quickly.
Will Insurance Cover My Losses?
Generally speaking, you have insurance for help in making repairs after unexpected accidents. We cannot say for sure that your policy will cover you in a hit-and-run accident, so make sure to discuss the options with your insurance company. Some of the key coverages that could protect you in the event of a hit-and-run are:
- Collision insurance: In most states, collision coverage may be offered as an insurance option. In most cases, insurance covers damage to your vehicle regardless of how it happened. Collision will cover repairs or, in the event of a total loss, provide the money for a vehicle replacement.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: This insurance also varies by state but generally kicks in when an accident involves someone underinsured or uninsured, typically including drivers who flee the scene in a hit-and-run. In addition to property damage, this coverage may also cover injuries to you and your passengers involved in the hit-and-run.
- Medical payments coverage: Optional in most states, medical payments coverage provides funding for injuries to you or your passengers, including those suffered in a hit-and-run.
- Personal injury protection: This insurance also provides coverage for medical care and may provide reimbursements for lost wages for time missed from work or child care.
Will a Hit-and-Run Accident Increase My Insurance?
Typically, insurance companies understand that some circumstances are out of our control and give insured parties a break when involved in a hit-and-run accident. Generally, you shouldn’t expect your insurance rates to rise. But, again, as we said, this depends on the types of coverage in your policy. Also, if you have had several other accidents in recent times, the insurance company may choose to increase your risk rating anyway based on your record.
Get Personal Injury Counsel at De Castroverde Law Group
The attorneys of De Castroverde Law Group, serving clients in Las Vegas, Reno, across Nevada, and Oakland, California, have extensive experience in personal injury law. Our team understands the impacts an injury can have on your life, both mentally and physically. We’ll stand by you to ensure you get the compensation and support you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas are well equipped to handle various cases, including car accidents, slips and falls, and nightclub injuries. Call us or contact us online for an expert consultation.