Most people think to call the police when there is catastrophic injury or extensive property damage to their car or truck. All too often, car accident victims do not contact the police when they think that their injuries are not severe or the property damage to their car or truck is minor. I have made this mistake myself and I have far too many clients who done the same and have now found themselves in lengthy court battles with their insurance companies because they failed to call the police immediately after the car accident.
The failure to contact the police immediately after a car accident is particularly damning if you are the victim of a hit and run, as your insurance company may deny your valid insurance claim in its entirety simply because you did not call the police. As a State College owner of a car or truck, you are required by law to maintain auto insurance. As part of your auto insurance, you may elect to purchase Uninsured Motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage and why you should not operate or ride in a car without it is a topic for another day. In a nutshell, Uninsured Motorist benefits are first party insured benefits. That means that your purchase this through your own auto insurance company. Uninsured motorist coverage benefits are paid to you by your own car insurance company or truck insurance company in the event that you are the victim of a car accident which was caused by someone who was either (1) driving a car or truck without auto insurance as required by Pennsylvania law or (2) you are the victim of a hit and run driver.
In order to make a claim for your personal injuries in the event that you are the victim of a hit and run car accident, you must be able to prove that you were actually involved in a hit and run car accident. Unfortunately, your car insurance company will not simply take your word for it and the car insurance company will demand actual evidence that you were involved in a hit and run car accident.
Furthermore, the vast majority of car insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania contain a provision that a hit and run car accident must be reported to the police immediately after the hit and run car accident or shortly thereafter. Typically, the hit and run car accident must be reported within thirty days after the car accident. However, the victim of a hit and run car accident should be aware that many Pennsylvania and local Centre County police agencies will not issue a police car accident report after the driver has left the scene of the car accident. Because of this, you must report the hit and run car accident to the State College police before you leave the scene of the car accident. This is especially true even if you do not immediately think that you have sustained personal injuries in the car accident, as your car insurance company may also deny your claim for property damage to your car or truck if you fail to report the car accident to the State College police.
If you or someone you know is the victim of a hit and run car accident, you should contact an experienced State College personal injury lawyer who can review your auto insurance policy with you and assist you with obtaining coverage for your personal injuries and property damage.