How is the damage from a hit-and-run accident paid for?

In the case of a hit-and-run accident, damages may be paid for by the insurance of one of the involved drivers or the assets of the vehicle operator who fled.

In Illinois, and other states around the country, it is not uncommon for a traffic accident to take place. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 313,316 collisions involving some type of motor vehicle in the state over the course of a single year. Of these crashes, 21 percent resulted in some form of personal injury. When a collision leads to property or personal damage, someone, usually one of the drivers involved in the crash, has to be held financially responsible. If one of the drivers flees the scene of the collision, is the remaining driver automatically expected to pay for any damages caused by the incident?

Fleeing party insurance

In some situations, the identity of a hit-and-run driver may be discovered even after he or she has fled the scene. This can happen for a wide range of reasons, including the following:

  • An eye witness is able to identify the driver.
  • The license plate of the vehicle is recorded.
  • The appearance of the driver is noticed.
  • An accurate description of the vehicle is given.

If a hit-and-run driver is identified, his or her auto insurance may cover the personal and property damage accrued because of the crash. Usually it is the at-fault party's liability insurance that will pay for the damages.

Negligent driver assets

If the negligent driver fled the scene because he or she did not have proper car insurance, the at-fault party's insurance can no longer cover the damages because it either does not exist or is not adequate enough to pay for all of the damages. In these situations, a judge may have to get involved to ensure the money is properly given. The driver's financial assets, such as wages, real estate and savings, may be used to help pay for the damages caused in the collision.

Injured party insurance

While the identity of a hit-and-run driver can be discovered, it is more common that this person is never identified. When this happens, the insurance of the other person involved may be used to shoulder the financial burden of the crash regardless of who was at fault. A collision policy may be used to help pay for repairs needed for a vehicle. Each person's insurance policy may be slightly different, so the exact policy that can pay for damages may vary.

Car crashes in Illinois can cause major financial burdens for those involved, especially if one of the drivers leaves the scene before swapping insurance information. No matter what the circumstances of an automobile accident, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.