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What are my rights as a hit & run victim?

Portsmouth, OH |

I was involved in a verbal confrontation with a woman and when i started to walk to my vehicle she put the van in drive & slammed on the gas hitting the left side of my body. When the police arrived they said that they wouldn't allow me to press charges against her and wouldn't arrest her because of our verbal confrontation & because there were no witnesses besides myself, the woman, & the man in her vehicle. The woman & the man told the police that she didn't hit me with her van. The police took pictures of me & where the van threw gravel all over the road from her speeding up to run me over. The police also said that because my story was different than hers & the guys that there was nothing they could do but file a crash report, even though I was injured and you could see the injuries.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You could file suit against the woman who drove into you. If you have PIP or medical payments insurance or similar coverage on your automobile liability insurance policy, you can most likely get your doctor and hospital bills paid under your insurance. Don't expect the adverse driver's insurance to pay anything to you, as you have described an intentional act and her insurance policy will not cover intentional acts, only negligent ones.

Legal Disclaimer:

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.

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Posted

First and foremost, you need to meet with a lawyer immediately. I will give you a general answer only as you provided only limited facts and hope you understand that without me knowing all of the facts, cannot give you specific legal advice as to your potential claim. If you are in Ohio, and from the facts you presented, you have several possible remedies available to you:

1. Damages from the van driver: If she has insurance (and this was not an intentional act), your lawyer can get the insurance information and present a personal injury claim on your behalf. There may be a possible liability issue, which may result in her insurance company denying the claim. This is a potential problem: You said vs. She & He said.

2. Medical Payments Coverage: If you paid premiums for Medical Payments benefits (benefits for medical bills regardless of fault), your lawyer can utilize this MedPay to negotiate a better settlement and/or use to pay medical bills your health insurance (if any) does not pick up. Since you were walking to your car and not in it, your insurance company may deny coverage, but such argument may be defeated with a "reasonable proximity argument to insured vehicle." Your MedPay may also apply if you cannot prove the fault of the van driver.

3. Un/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM): If you paid premiums for this type of coverage, you would make a claim against your own insurance company in two instances: 1.) if the van driver was uninsured and 2.) if the van driver was insured, but did not have policy limits sufficient to cover your damages (and your UM/UIM limits are not less than or greater than van driver's limits). In most instances, it is easier to get a better settlement with your own insurance company because they are not permitted by law to use computer "adjusting" programs to lower the value of your claim. Your insurance company also has a first party duty (via your contractual relationship, i.e. paying premiums) to negotiate in good faith. If they don't, you are permitted to sue them for bad faith without first receiving a judgment. You may actually be better off if you have high limits, your provider accepts coverage and the van driver does not have insurance for the reasons stated above. Generally, however, it is always better to have multiple sources of insurance to tap into.

Be sure to have your health insurance billed by your medical providers. Your providers will have subrogation (can recover amount paid from van driver), but is usually only for 40 to 60 cents on the dollar and many times can be negotiated by savvy lawyers.

Good luck and feel free to call for an appointment as we are in the same town.

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