Despite the very real criminal and legal repercussions, some driver’s flee following an accident, leaving a victim with anger, despair and few alternatives. Whether the at-fault driver stays or flees, the first thing you should always do is to report the accident to local law enforcement. That way they can investigate the accident and create a report, providing proof that the accident was not your fault. If the driver flees, you can describe the vehicle or plate number. Assuming the driver is not apprehended, and their identity remains unknown, what is the next step to take?
Report the incident to your own automobile insurance company. It is likely though not certain that you purchased a policy that includes uninsured motorist coverage (commonly referred to as “UM”). Arizona law does NOT require drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, but most drivers do purchase it. If you did, then your claim is covered (up to the amount of insurance you purchased) by this specific type of coverage.
Thus, instead of claiming with the at-fault driver’s policy (which you would not know), you make it with your own insurance company. Claiming the UM provision of your policy should not increase your insurance premiums. Arizona enacted the following statute to prevent insurers from increasing your rates due to an accident that is not your fault” A.R.S. § 20-263, which states the following: “No insurer shall increase the motor vehicle insurance premium of an insured as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to by the actions of the insured. Any insurer which increases the premium as a result of accident involvement shall notify the insured of the reason for such increase.”
As long as you ensure that you have uninsured motorist coverage, the fact that a driver fled and remains unidentified should not be a concern.