UM / UIM: Coverage & Hit and Run Accidents
In any densely-packed metropolitan area, but especially in a college town like San Antonio, the chances of being in an accident where the other driver does not have any form of auto insurance is higher than elsewhere in Texas. Among the first five questions people typically ask themselves after an auto accident is this one: Will my, or their, insurance cover the cost of repairs? Unfortunately, in cases involving an uninsured and underinsured motorist, the other driver’s first five questions include this: How can I get out of having to pay the full cost of the repairs? Now, not only are you unsure of how the damage will be paid for, but whether or not the responsible party will ever be held accountable.
Fortunately, the attorneys at Carabin & Shaw have decades of experience handling these exact types of cases. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage isn’t just for people who can afford it out-of-pocket. We make sure UM/UIM coverage & hit and run accidents are both addressed under the full scrutiny of the law. Our San Antonio UM/UIM coverage lawyer helps clients get their fair amount of compensation while simultaneously prosecuting the offending party.
Another question many vehicle owners have in the wake of such an accident is: does uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage apply to hit and run claims? The short answer is yes. However, there are special rules governing UM/UIM coverage & hit and run accidents. The first question our attorneys answer is whether it’s a true hit and run case. In San Antonio, just because the other driver fails to stop doesn’t make the case a hit and run for uninsured/underinsured coverage purposes. If you are able to track the other driver down (for example, through a license plate or witnesses), then they are no longer a hit and run driver. For better or worse, this also means the special rules typically at play in UM/UIM coverage & hit and run accidents no longer apply.
If you cannot track the other San Antonio driver down, then your uninsured/underinsured coverage does apply, but it is subject to what is known as the contact rule: before the coverage kicks in, there must be contact between your car and the vehicle of the driver that leaves the scene. If a driver runs you off the road, but there is no contact between the vehicles, then the coverage doesn’t kick in. As such, applying the contact rule can be a little tricky. But our lawyers have the experience necessary to prove your case.
Courts in San Antonio have found that indirect or subsequent contact is sufficient for this type of claim. For example, our attorneys were able to show that, if the hit and run driver hits car B, causing car B to then hit our client in car C, those circumstances are sufficient to trigger this type of coverage. However, courts still maintain that contact with the offender’s vehicle, whether direct or indirect, is the main criteria for this type of claim. Hitting a load of wood, concrete, chain, gravel, or other material after it has fallen off a vehicle isn’t enough to trigger coverage. This can also apply to parts of the offender’s vehicle. Legal systems all of the way up to the Supreme Court have ruled that uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage isn’t triggered when an axle, mirror, tailgate, or another part of a vehicle falls off and hits your car.
As you can see, the short answer is yes, uninsured/underinsured insurance will cover hit and run accidents, but only so long as the contact rule is met. Let the lawyers at Carabin & Shaw help you get the compensation you deserve today!