If a motorist crashes into your vehicle, they are required to remain at the scene so that evidence may be preserved and information may be shared. It is against the law to flee the scene of the crash. But sometimes, that is indeed what happens.
If you sustained injuries from a hit-and-run crash, you may worry about the financial effects of the related expenses and losses. It is important to know that you have ways to protect yourself.
Understanding your insurance options
Because New Mexico follows fault-based insurance laws, you would normally file your claim through the at-fault motorist’s insurance company. Yet, since the at-fault motorist fled after your crash, you do not have this option. Instead, you will file your claim through your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. You are not required to carry UM coverage, but your insurance provider is required to offer it to you when you purchase your policy.
Your UM coverage limits can equal your insurance policy’s liability coverage. So, when deciding how much liability coverage to carry, you should also consider buying comparable UM coverage to ensure that you have chance of receiving fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish and lost wages in the case of a crash caused by someone else who leaves the scene or fails to carry their own mandated insurance.
Understanding your legal options
Depending on the limits of your UM coverage (and whether you have opted for UM coverage at all), your claim’s payout may not cover all your expenses and losses. Or, your insurance company might reject part of or all your claim. In these cases, your next steps depend on whether the police find the at-fault driver. If they do, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against them. Under New Mexico’s statute of limitations, you have three years from the date of your crash to proceed with one.
After sustaining injuries in a hit-and-run crash, you should not have to cover your related expenses out-of-pocket. By consulting a personal injury attorney, you can determine your options for fighting for fair compensation.