This past summer, a hit-and-run driver killed a pedestrian in West Englewood and abandoned his vehicle nearby. The driver fatally struck a 48-year-old man who was walking on 64th Street across Ashland Avenue. The motorist continued driving, and abandoned his Nissan Altima sedan a few blocks to the Southeast. Chicago Streets Blog reported police were investigating the incident.
Unfortunately, accidents like this one are common. Drivers leave accident scenes for many reasons, including fear of being arrested for impaired driving, invalid drivers' licenses, undocumented immigration status, and driving without insurance. In many cases, a driver who leaves the scene of a crash does not have liability insurance coverage, even though Illinois law requires motorists to have a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident liability coverage in case the motorist injures others. When a hit-and-run driver is not found or is lacking in insurance coverage, victims of accidents may be unable to pursue a typical claim for compensation for crash losses.
What to do after a hit-and-run accident
While car accident victims typically file a claim against a driver who hurt them in order to get medical bills and other costs covered, this is not possible if a driver hits and runs or if a driver has no insurance (and no personal money to pay for losses).
The good news for Chicago drivers who are hurt in a hit-and-run accident is that Illinois law requires motorists to buy both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is specifically intended to pay crash victims' bills if they are hurt by a motorist who doesn't have insurance to provide payment for damages. If you get into a hit-and-run and can't collect from the driver who hurt you, your uninsured motorist coverage is going to kick in. Your insurer will stand in for the driver who should pay, and your insurer will provide you with the money for losses that should have been covered by the at-fault driver.
You should contact your insurance company to report the accident, and alert the insurer your collision was a hit-and-run. The insurance company will investigate the accident and should offer you a reasonable amount of compensation for medical bills, wage loss, property damage, and non-financial losses you are entitled to receive after the crash.
Insurance companies, unfortunately, sometimes fail to provide the compensation their policyholders deserve. Insurers may delay for long periods of time before processing complaints, or may demand more paperwork than you should reasonably need to provide. Insurance companies can also deny claims that should clearly be covered under the car insurance policy terms, or could try to lowball you to get you to accept less in funds than you should be receiving. A Chicago injury attorney will be in the best position to insure your rights are protected. If your insurance company fails to process your uninsured motorist claim in a timely and fair manner after you are injured or suffer damage in a hit-and-run, you may be entitled to additional compensation through a bad faith claim.