After your recent auto accident, you likely assumed that the driver who hit you would stop. Yet, rather than follow through with their legal responsibility, they might have fled the scene. If this happened, you will likely worry about whether you will receive fair compensation for your medical expenses and related losses. In Pennsylvania, you have several ways to protect yourself, though they could depend on your insurance coverage.
How UM/UIM coverage works
After hit-and-run accidents, the police often have difficulty tracking down the at-fault motorist. If they have not found the driver responsible for yours, you must make your insurance claim through your uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. In Pennsylvania, motorists are not required to carry this coverage. But your insurance company must have offered it to you when you purchased your policy.
Your UM/UIM coverage cannot exceed the coverage limits of your bodily injury liability insurance, but it can equal them. In Pennsylvania, these are $15,000 for bodily injury per person and $30,000 for bodily injury per accident. Many motorists, though, have higher limits as a precaution.
How your tort coverage can affect your options
It is possible that your insurance company’s initial payout may prove insufficient. In this case, if the police find the at-fault motorist, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Your ability to do so, though, depends on whether you carry limited or full tort coverage on your insurance policy.
If you purchased limited tort coverage with your insurance policy, you will face restrictions on the damages you can pursue in a personal injury lawsuit. With this coverage, you can pursue damages for medical bills and lost wages. Yet, you cannot do so, in most cases, for pain and suffering or other noneconomic harm. You also cannot both bring a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist and file a claim through your UM/UIM coverage.
You may have purchased full tort coverage with your insurance policy, though. With this type of coverage, you will have no restrictions when brining a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. This remains true, even if you filed a claim through your UM/UIM coverage as well.
You will want to be mindful of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations if you take legal action against the at-fault motorist. For personal injury cases, you can do so up to two years from the date of your accident.