Can You Get Damages If You Can’t Identify the Driver? What Sources of Compensation Are Available?
After a motor vehicle accident, one of the first things you want to do is get contact and insurance information from the at-fault driver. What if you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver, though? Are you without recourse to cover your losses? Not necessarily. Here are some other potential sources of compensation after a hit-and-run accident.
Your Own Insurance Company
As New Jersey adheres to a “no-fault” approach for car insurance, your initial claim is filed with your own insurer, which typically pays your claim (according to policy limits) and then seeks reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurer. If, however, you cannot identify who caused the accident, your insurer may still provide some level of compensation under your policy’s uninsured and underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) coverage provisions. Unlike most states, UM/UIM coverage is mandatory in New Jersey. The cost of UM/UIM is negligible compared to the coverage provided, but it’s important to make certain that your UM/UIM coverage limits are equal to the liability limits of your policy—never lower.
The Victims of Crime Compensation Office
A person injured in a hit-and-run accident may apply to the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Office for up to $25,000 to cover vehicle damage, medical expenses, and physical and emotional therapy costs. You must file a police report within nine months and must file your claim with the state within three years.
You can recover damages from any party that can be shown in court to have engaged in negligence, or unreasonable behavior, that caused the accident and your losses. Other entities that may have liability include:
- The designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of a dangerous or defective product that caused the accident; and
- The municipal agency or entity responsible for maintaining the roads, if your accident was caused by malfunctioning traffic lights, missing street signs, or other defects in the roadway.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
At the Law Offices of Howard D. Popper, we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a hit-and-run accident, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.