Being in a hit and run accident is frustrating, and to make matters worse, victims often are confused about how to proceed. After all, the accident wasn’t your fault, so you shouldn’t have to pay for the damages, right?
The best case scenario is that the driver who hit you is found and has insurance, but that is often not the case. And even if the driver is found, they may not have liability insurance coverage anyway.
If the driver is not found (or doesn’t have liability insurance), your damages will typically be paid under your policy’s “uninsured / underinsured motorist” coverage, which all policy holders in North Carolina are required to have.
If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident and want to speak with someone right now, click here to contact a NC hit and run lawyer.
Will Filing for Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage Affect my Insurance Rates?
The short answer is: it shouldn’t. In most instances, if you’re not deemed responsible for the accident, your rates should not go up in the state of North Carolina.
However, in our experience your insurance company is likely to try to minimize the amount you receive for damages, such as your medical bills, time out of work, and other losses. In some cases, they may even deny payment entirely!
The best defense against this is to:
- Get Medical Care Immediately (and Consistently!)
Insurance companies view medical care as evidence. First, be sure to report everything, right away. There’s no such thing as “too minor.”Something small like nose pain, could be an indication of a larger problem that could get worse and require surgery or other major work later on. If you didn’t report it right away, your insurance company might say that it wasn’t related to your accident and refuse to cover the costs.On a related note, if you say you injured your lower back, but keep skipping your physical therapy appointments or don’t seek medical help right away, your insurance company may use this against you to say that your claims aren’t real or serious.
- Collect Evidence
Even if you report everything and get consistent medical care, an insurance company might still try to deny or lessen your compensation. If this happens, you may have to prove your claims and this can be a tall order.Keep any damaged personal items, the clothing you were wearing the day of the accident (DO NOT wash it!) and all paperwork related to your insurance claims or medical treatments.Collect any pictures that were taken of your injuries, vehicle damage, property damage, skid marks, street signs, and even the weather on the day of the accident, as these could be useful later on.
- Contact Your Local Police Department
Since a hit and run is a criminal offense, the police should be investigating your case. Let them know that you are willing to cooperate in whatever capacity and tell them everything you can about the accident – even if you’re not sure that it’s relevant.Below are a few non-emergency numbers for police departments in North Carolina.
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD – (704) 336-7600
- Durham PD – (919) 560-4600 or (919) 560-4601
- Greensboro PD – (336) 373-2222
- Raleigh PD – (919) 831-6311
- Winston-Salem PD – (336) 773-7700
Don’t see yours listed? Click here for a complete list of police departments in NC.
- Let a Professional Review (for free)
No matter how much evidence you collect, it’s still very possible that your insurance company may offer you less than what you may deserve.They may try to steer you otherwise, but before you settle, give a recorded statement, or sign anything, it’s generally a good idea to have an attorney review your case to make sure you aren’t signing away any rights or losing potential benefits.Many accident attorneys will do this for free. Afterwards, if you decide to hire a lawyer, he or she may be able to help investigate your case.