Car accidents can be traumatic experiences under the best of circumstances. When someone else causes an accident and then flees the scene, the stress level only goes up.
Recovering damages from a hit-and-run driver can be challenging, but you do have options.
Uninsured motorist coverage
All North Carolina drivers must purchase uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage applies when an unknown hit-and-run driver causes an auto accident. However, to use this coverage, you must meet several requirements:
- Report the accident to law enforcement within 24 hours.
- Prove there was physical contact between your vehicle and the hit-and-run vehicle.
- Notify your insurance company within a reasonable amount of time.
You cannot use your uninsured motorist coverage if you are claiming someone caused you to have an accident, such as driving off the road, but there was no contact between the vehicles.
The fact that the other driver left the scene is not enough to prove that the hit-and-run driver is responsible for your damages. Because of the contributory negligence law, North Carolina drivers who contributed to an accident in any way can not recover damages from another party. If your insurance company determines that you had any fault in the accident, it may deny your uninsured motorist claim.
Recovering damages from hit-and-run drivers directly can be difficult, particularly if the police are unable to identify the driver. Uninsured motorist coverage provides some protection; however, contributory negligence laws make it possible for insurance companies to deny many claims, even when one of the drivers flees the scene. Proving that the accident was entirely the hit-and-run driver’s fault is critical for obtaining compensation.