If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, you may feel that there is no hope of obtaining compensation for your accident injuries. However, suppose you carry uninsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy or are an “insured” under a different policy with uninsured motorist coverage. In that case, you can still obtain the compensation you deserve without worrying about an increase in your premiums.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event you are the victim of an accident caused by an uninsured driver and allows you to recover the damages you have incurred as a result of an uninsured driver’s negligence in an amount up to the applicable policy limit. An unidentified hit and run driver is considered an uninsured motorist for purposes of uninsured motorist coverage. Accordingly, if you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver and carry uninsured motorist coverage, you can still recover for your injuries in an amount capped at the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage.
An unidentified driver can cause an accident without actually coming into contact with your vehicle. For instance, if an unidentified driver turns left in front of you and causes you to take evasive action to the extent that you lose control of your vehicle and crash, that person would be considered a “phantom” driver. A “phantom” driver is also considered an uninsured motorist for purposes of uninsured motorist coverage. In situations where a “phantom driver has injured you,” Arizona law requires that you provide corroborating evidence to support your contentions as to the cause of the accident before you can obtain compensation via your uninsured motorist coverage. Note that any bit of evidence that supports your version of the events is sufficient corroboration. Further, the corroborating evidence can take any form, so long as it adds weight or credibility to the insured’s representation of how the accident occurred.
It is important to note that uninsured motorist coverage is “portable,” meaning that it protects you whether you are driving the car insured by your policy, a different car, or even if you are riding a bike or walking down the street. Generally speaking, so long as you meet the definition of an “insured” under the applicable policy, you are covered by uninsured motorist coverage regardless of what you are doing at the time of an accident caused by an uninsured driver. To put it simply, if you are injured by an uninsured motorist, or an unidentifiable “phantom driver” your uninsured motorist coverage protects you from loss.
If the insurance company disputes the existence of coverage you can sue them for breach of contract and potentially for the tort of bad faith. Meanwhile, if the carrier concedes the existence of coverage but disputes the amount and extent of your damages, most policies require that the matter be resolved via arbitration. In either event, you will need an experienced attorney to build up and present your claim. Don’t go it alone, call Stone Rose Law at (480) 498-8998 now for a free consultation. We have the skills and experience needed to find coverage and maximize your recovery.