This article will answer these questions.
Pennsylvania car accident law provides that injured drivers' own insurance companies pay for their medical expenses related to any type of car accident, including a hit and run accident. This is known as PIP or medical benefits coverage. It does not matter if the injured drivers did not cause the accidents; their auto insurance companies must pay for the medical expenses up to the limit of the purchased PIP coverage. Pennsylvania drivers are required by law to carry $5,000 of minimum PIP coverage.
If an injured driver's PIP is exhausted, then their private health insurance comes into play. Injured drivers may think after their PIP is exhausted, they may submit their medical expenses to the other driver's auto insurance company. That is not the case. The next level of coverage is from the injured driver's own health insurance policy.
Often, before a private health insurance company will cover the medical expenses, it will need an exhaustion letter from the insured's auto insurance company. In essence, the exhaustion letter tells the health insurance company that all PIP benefits have been used.
Therefore, a driver injured in a hit and run accident does not have to worry about their medical expenses because the hit and run driver's insurance has nothing to do with payment of medical expenses.
In terms of liability, drivers injured in hit and run accidents may think they have no legal options and cannot financially recover for their injuries and damages. Again, this is not the case. Drivers in Pennsylvania have the option to purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM/UM) coverage on their auto insurance policies.
Drivers injured in hit and run accidents may file UM claims with their own insurance companies and recover up to the limit they purchased. However, unlike PIP coverage, UM coverage is not mandatory. If drivers declined to purchase this option, then they will have no legal options.
Consider the following scenario. Driver A is seriously injured in a car accident in Philadelphia. The driver who caused the accident fled the scene and cannot be located. Driver A has $100,000 in UM coverage. He can file a UM claim with his own auto insurance company to recover for his injuries and damages. If his injuries and damages are $90,000, then he may be able to recover the full $90,000. However, if his injuries and damages are beyond $100,000, the maximum he will receive is $100,000.
If Driver A does not have UM coverage, then he unfortunately will not be able to financially recover for his damages and injuries until the driver is located. Driver A may then file a car accident injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, assuming the lawsuit is filed within Pennsylvania’s two year statute of limitations for tort cases. Driver A may recover up to the limit of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. If the at-fault driver has $100,000 in liability coverage, the maximum recovery Driver A may recover is $100,000.
If you or a loved one was injured in a hit and run accident, call the car accident lawyers at White and Williams LLP. Trying to get back on your feel after a serious car accident can be overwhelming. The litigation process is often confusing and stressful. Injured victims need to have a PA personal injury lawyer best suited for them. Daniel J. O'Brien has been handling car accident injury cases for 30 years. Call today to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396