Victims of Hit and Run Accidents Still Have a Case
This weekend marked another horrible instance of a deadly hit and run accident here in the Valley. A Tempe man was riding a motorized bicycle on Saturday night when he was struck by a vehicle. He was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.
As for the responsible vehicle: the driver didn't even stop. Police are now on the hunt for the suspect.
Hit and run cases are gut-wrenching for several reasons. First of all, we are disgusted at the lack of responsibility on the part of the drivers who scram. We're also angered by the sense of injustice for the victims, who may be unable to find recompense for what they've suffered.
For many people in Arizona, this raises the question of whether--and how--a hit and run victim can claim damages.
The 1st answer may be "Good luck with that”.
The better answer lies in the extent to which the victim had protected himself with his own insurance coverage prior to the loss event.
In Arizona, auto insurers are REQUIRED to offer you Uninsured and Underinsured coverage at the time you purchase automobile insurance. They must tell you about it, offer it, and if you decline, have you sign paperwork to prove that you were offered it and declined.
In the above instance, if the bicyclist had Uninsured insurance coverage on a vehicle, then his own insurance company would be required to pay the value of the claim---even if the at fault driver is never found.
So what steps should someone take if they or a family member has been part of a hit and run accident?
Insurance matters are tricky, and unfortunately, you don’t always get straight answers from the insurer’s representatives. Protect yourself as best you can. Call an attorney who is a certified specialist in personal injury and wrongful death law in Arizona. They can investigate and help determine for you whether there is an avenue of recovery for you.
As always, I wish you and your family very SAFE and ALERT driving this summer.