Can You Receive Compensation after a Hit and Run?
It is illegal to leave the scene of a car accident. Nevertheless, countless people do just that every year, leaving injured motorists behind. If you have been the victim of a hit and run, you might be worried about whether you can receive compensation for your injuries. Fortunately, there are several ways to pay for medical expenses and replace your lost wages.
Use Your PIP Benefits
Everyone who registers a vehicle in Florida must have personal injury protection benefits, called “PIP.” These are no-fault benefits that pay for necessary medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. Most Florida drivers carry only the state’s minimum of $10,000.
To access PIP benefits, you must receive medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Also, you will be limited to $2,500 in benefits unless you have an “emergency medical condition,” which is an injury requiring immediate treatment so that it does not become serious. Unless your accident was very minor, it is easy to exhaust your PIP benefits receiving medical treatment.
Tap Your Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
UM coverage is optional, but it is a great addition to have along with PIP coverage. UM insurance comes into play if you are hit and the other driver does not have insurance or does not have enough. Your UM coverage should also pay out on a claim if you are injured in a hit and run.
Unlike PIP benefits, UM insurance is fault based, meaning you cannot have caused the accident. However, if you qualify for benefits, you can usually receive much more than you could with PIP, including payment for pain and suffering.
If you do not have UM coverage, contact your insurance agent right away and ask how much it costs. You will also need to buy bodily injury liability insurance, which covers other motorists in the event you cause the accident.
Make a Claim with the State’s Crimes Compensation Trust Fund
Florida’s Bureau of Victim Compensation has a trust fund for victims that pays out compensation for those injured in crimes, including hit and runs. You can qualify for compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Dental bills
- Mental health treatment
- Disability benefits
- Loss of support (if someone you financially relied upon ends up dying)
- Funeral and burial expenses
To qualify, you must meet the following:
- File a complaint with the police within 72 hours of the accident.
- Submit a claim with the trust fund no more than one year after the accident. The deadline might be extended to two years in certain situations.
- You must not have contributed to the collision or been involved in a crime.
An application is available at the Florida Attorney General’s website. You might also need to fill out additional forms. Many experts predict the fund will eventually go bankrupt, but until it actually does you should take advantage of it.
Injured in a Hit and Run? Speak with a Daytona Beach Car Accident Lawyer
Sometimes, a little detective work can also identify the person who struck you. Regardless, you should consult with a lawyer if you have questions about how to receive compensation for your injuries. At Bundza & Rodriguez in Daytona Beach, we offer injured motorists a free consultation. Please call 386-252-5170 to schedule yours.