Everyone has heard of the hit and run driver. They are not paying attention, they hit you, your car, your person or your bike and then flee the scene. A hit and run driver situation is precisely why you need uninsured insurance.
UTAH CAR INSURANCE POLICIES
As of this writing in 02/2016, every Utah policy of insurance must have the following:
(1). $3,000 of personal injury protection benefits “PIP.”
(2). $25,000 minimum liability per person with a total $50,000 cap.
(3). $15,000 in minimum property damage liability.
It is optional to have the following benefits attached to your Utah car insurance policy.
(1). Uninsured motorist coverage.
(2). Underinsured motorist coverage.
(3). Increased PIP coverage above and beyond the $3,000.
(4). Collision coverage which repairs your own car damage when you are at fault.
(5). Increased liability coverages past the stated $25,000/$50,000 minimum.
UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
When you are hit by a hit and run driver, your own car insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage kicks in to help pay for the damages and injuries caused by the hit and run driver. Additionally, if you are hit by another car and that person did not have insurance at all, then your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your injuries caused by the uninsured offending car.
There are two types of hit and run drivers. First, the hit and run driver actually crashes into your car causing damage. Second, the hit and run driver causes your car to run off the road or otherwise cause you injuries–but the hit and run driver did not touch your car during the process. You veered away from the collision before it happened, but you still crashed.
When the hit and run driver touches your car, a preponderance of the evidence standard applies–or a more likely than not proof is required. When the hit and run driver does not touch your car, but that driver’s conduct causes your car to crash, insurance carriers will often deny your claim and demand a higher proof burden applies–clear and convincing.
Here is the Utah Code provision that insurance carriers rely upon to deny your uninsured hit and run driver claim.
When a covered person alleges that an uninsured motor vehicle under Subsection (2)(b) proximately caused an accident without touching the covered person or the motor vehicle occupied by the covered person, the covered person shall show the existence of the uninsured motor vehicle by clear and convincing evidence consisting of more than the covered person’s testimony. Utah Code 31A-22-305(6).
What insurance carriers like to do is deny your hit and run claim because often you cannot produce any other testimonial evidence other than your own recall of the facts. When this occurs, insist that there is other evidence besides your own testimony. Point them to the medical records showing an immediately physical injury, the testimony of the EMTs who were at the accident scene and can see obvious physical injury and property damage.
Insurance carriers deny these claims and insist that other testimonial evidence is required, but that is not true. Using documentary evidence and circumstance testimonial evidence by the EMTs, or family members who saw you immediately after the collision can help prove your case.
In reality, if you are involved in a hit and run case where the other driver causes you injuries but luckily did not impact your car, your claim will be denied and you will need to hire an attorney.
Navigating the world of insurance is complex and a good personal injury attorney will press the insurance company for a fair resolution of your claim. Let there be no mistake, insurance companies are in business. They have mountains of lawyers and trained claimed adjusters on their side. You should have an attorney in your corner also.
Call Utah car accident attorney Jacob S. Gunter for a free review of your hit and run injury case. (801) 373-6345.