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Can I file an insurance claim on hit-and-run wreck?

One of the more difficult types of auto accident claims to pursue for compensation are those involving hit-and-run drivers. Naturally, in order to receive compensation from the at-fault driver's insurer, the driver has to be identified. With a hit-and-run, this can be difficult.

For accident victims with comprehensive insurance coverage on their vehicles, there is an avenue of compensation open through filing a claim against your own insurance company. But, deductibles still have to be met, and insurance claims can make your rates rise precipitously.

Sometimes after a hit-and-run, the other driver will remember enough identifying information about the at-fault, fleeing driver, e.g., a license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, description of the driver, to give to the police to pursue.

However, unless there were major injuries or fatalities involved, a short-staffed police force may not devote too many precious man-hours into tracking down a hit-and-run driver.

But don't give up in disgust if that happens. Even if the identity isn't immediately revealed, it could come to light at some future point, at which your own insurance company could act on your behalf in subrogation against the driver and/or his or her insurance company.

What that means in plain language is that if your own insurance company paid out a claim by you that was caused by a wreck with an at-fault hit-and-run driver, your insurance company can seek to recover the claim money, including the deductible you had to pay.

As a fraud deterrent, you may be required by your insurer to submit proof that contact with the hit-and-run vehicle caused your car's damages and your subsequent injuries. This prevents drivers who get into one-vehicle crashes or drive drunk from gaming the system.

The usual acceptable proof is a picture of a paint transfer from the other vehicle to yours. In some cases, independent witness statements corroborating your version of the events of the accident may be acceptable in order to successfully file a claim.

If your insurance company continues to give you the runaround even though you have complied with their requests for documentation, it may be time to hire a professional to pursue your personal injury claim for damages.

Source: Insure.com, "How to make a car insurance claim for a hit-and-run accident," Chuck Green, accessed Nov. 25, 2016

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