If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ve probably got a lot of questions. Hit-and-Run accidents are probably some of the most challenging to resolve, even though there is technically no defendant to deal with. Sadly, the challenges often come from one’s own insurance company trying to avoid paying. For experienced Missouri auto accident lawyers, there are three big challenges that often confuse clients. These are coverage, costs, and bad faith.
Let’s take a look at the three reasons why you need a lawyer to handle a hit-and-run case.
One of the first things that an insurance company may try after a hit-and-run accident is to argue that your policy does not cover the event unless you can prove that the other driver was uninsured. If you read this and think it’s absurd, you’re correct. Nevertheless, many insurance policy contracts are written in such a way that the insurance company can legally deny coverage under your ‘uninsured motorist policy’ unless you can prove you were hit by someone without insurance.
Missouri law, however, says that your uninsured motorist coverage must cover hit-and-run accidents and injuries sustained as a pedestrian, struck by an uninsured motorist. Insurance companies sometimes try to get around this by burying provisions in the contract, stating that the policy is to be interpreted under some other state’s laws. In many cases, an experienced hit-and-run injury lawyer can help by getting a court or arbitrator to require the policy to be interpreted under Missouri law, thereby forcing your insurance company to honor the contract.
Proving your injuries and gathering evidence can mean hiring expensive private investigators, purchasing medical records, and sometimes even retaining medical experts. These are all very costly. Most people who’ve suffered a serious injury simply cannot afford these costs upfront, even if they expect a large recovery. A good personal injury lawyer will typically front the cost of these expenses and simply be reimbursed from the final award or judgment. This makes it easier for you, as an injured person, to fight for your rights.
- Bad Faith
Sadly, sometimes an insurance company just will not listen to reason and pay a claim. If it’s your own insurance company, then you may have to demand arbitration. In other cases, the insurance company’s conduct may be so bad that you can file suit for something called “bad faith.” This is a form of case brought against an insurance company for breaking its contract with you, the consumer.
What to Do if Injured in a Hit-and-Run
Under Missouri law, you must report your injury to the police within 24 hours. This will create a police report. You should bring a copy of this to your attorney at your first appointment. Second, you must file a claim with your insurance company within 30 days. If you’ve been injured by a hit-and-run driver, once you’ve made a police report, contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm right away. The sooner you have representation, the sooner an attorney can begin fighting to get you the justice you deserve.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.