Who Pays for My Injuries and Damages if I Was Injured in a Pennsylvania Car Accident and the Driver Left the Scene?
- You would file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with your own insurance company if you have UM coverage.
- UM coverage protects the insured driver when the at-fault driver does not have car insurance or the at-fault driver cannot be found, i.e., a hit and run driver.
- The maximum amount an insured driver can receive in a UM claim is the maximum amount of coverage purchased.
The following FAQ explains UM after a Philadelphia car accident.
Question: I was in a car accident in Northeast Philadelphia on Roosevelt Boulevard. I was stopped at a red light when a car rear ended me from behind. I was pushed into the lane traveling the opposite direction. I was then hit by a car coming the opposite direction. The car that hit me from behind took off. No one saw the car’s license plate, so we have no information on the hit and run driver. I was seriously injured. I have several broken ribs, a serious back injury and fractured my wrist and may need surgery. What happens to my medical bills? Am I out of luck in terms of getting financial compensation because the driver left the scene of the accident?
Answer: Whether you can receive financial compensation in your situation depends on if you have UM coverage on your auto insurance policy. If you have UM coverage, then no, you are not out of luck. I will explain UM coverage and what happens to your medical bills below.
What is UM Coverage?
UM coverage is a type of optional coverage you choose when you purchase your auto insurance, and it protects you in the event of a car accident. UM applies in two situations. One, when the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance, and two, when the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident and cannot be found, i.e., a hit and run driver.
In your situation, because the driver left the scene of the accident, you can file a UM claim with your insurance company. The amount you would be able to recover depends on your injuries and the amount of coverage you purchased. If you bought $100,000 in UM coverage, you may be able to receive up to $100,000.
Let’s assume your injuries and damages are $90,000 and your UM coverage is $100,000. You would be able to file a UM claim and receive $90,000. However, if your injuries and damages are $125,000, the maximum amount you would be able to receive is $100,000 even though your injuries exceed $100,000.
There is one exception to this situation. If you own 2 cars that are covered by auto insurance that allows you to “stack” coverages, you may be able to receive more than $100,000. For instance, you own 2 vehicles. Each vehicle is insured and has $100,000 UM coverage. The policy you bought allows you to stack the 2 coverages. This means you would be able to stack the UM coverage from both vehicles for a UM claim as a result of a car accident. Therefore, the maximum amount you would be able to recover is $200,000, rather than $100,000.
UM coverage in Pennsylvania is not mandatory. Therefore, if you did not choose to purchase UM coverage, you would not be able to file a UM claim. In such a situation, then you would not be able to financially recover from your own insurance company.
Who Pays Medical Bills in Pennsylvania Car Accidents?
In terms of your medical bills, your own car insurance policy would cover them, up to the limit purchased. In Pennsylvania, regardless of who caused the car accident, your own auto policy covers the bills under the PIP medical coverage. This is also known as no-fault law.
Applying this law to your Philadelphia car accident case, even though the hit and run driver caused the car accident, your own medical expenses would be covered by your own auto policy. If the driver did not leave the accident, your own policy would still pay for the medical expenses. However, your auto policy would only cover up to the limit purchased. In Pennsylvania, the minimum is $5,000. If you bought $10,000 in PIP benefits, then your auto policy would cover up to $10,000.
In the event that you exhaust your PIP benefits, then your health insurance coverage would come into play for the medical expenses. If you have co-pays for doctor’s appointments and prescriptions, you would have to pay for those amounts. It is important to keep track of those amounts because those expenses may be reimbursed as part of your UM claim.
Help After a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Car Accident
If you have questions about your car accident, it is best to talk to a Philadelphia car accident lawyer. Our PA personal injury lawyers have handled countless car accident cases and UM claims. We also offer free consultations. 215.985.0777