When another motorist collides with your vehicle, you will likely assume that they will remain on the scene afterward. Yet, the driver may flee, making your accident a hit-and-run. These crashes are more difficult to work through than others, since you cannot file a claim through the driver’s insurance policy. Knowing how to do so through your own, though, can save you from additional pain.
How the process works
Because Ohio follows a fault-based insurance system, you may fear that you have no way of making a claim after your accident. The state does not mandate that drivers carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. But adding it to your policy will protect you. UM coverage safeguards you against accidents where the other driver has no – or limited – insurance. More importantly, in your case, it protects you if the at-fault motorist decided to flee the scene.
When making an UM claim, keep in mind that it will only cover expenses related to your injuries. If your vehicle experienced damage, you will need to make a claim through your policy’s collision coverage as well.
How to protect yourself
Your insurance provider may refuse to pay the full value of your claim, and you might worry you will have to accept the initial settlement they offer. If this happens, you can file a complaint through the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI). In your complaint, you must provide information about your insurance company and policy, as well as evidence that they unfairly denied part of your claim. Within two weeks of submitting your complaint, you will hear from an ODI analyst about your case’s status. The agency may decide to launch an investigation into your complaint, which will take around one month to complete. Yet, its efforts may be unsuccessful. Or, the agency may decide your insurance provider did not commit a violation. In these cases, you may want to pursue a civil lawsuit against your insurance provider.
Having comprehensive insurance coverage can help ease the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident. Yet, so can knowing how to protect yourself when it proves inadequate. By understanding your options, you can work toward the relief you deserve.