If you or a loved one is injured in a motor vehicle accident that is caused by a hit and run driver that flees the scene before you can obtain their information or by a driver that is uninsured, you may still have a remedy to obtain compensation for your injuries. In Pennsylvania, all automobile insurance policies offer as an option uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for an amount up to the liability limits selected on the same automobile insurance policy. Uninsured motorist benefits are extra coverage that a person can obtain from their own insurance company that will protect the policyholder and all insureds under the policy in case they are injured in a collision that is caused by an uninsured or an unidentified driver, such as a hit and run driver. UM benefits will pay the injured party's personal injury claim, consisting of pain and suffering, excess medical expenses and lost wages that the negligent driver's automobile insurance should have paid. The insurance company that pays uninsured motorist benefits to the injured victims will thereafter have the right to seek reimbursement (subrogation) from the uninsured driver, if their identity is known. But the important point is that the injured victims in the collision are compensated for their injuries caused by the negligent uninsured or unidentified driver.
As mentioned above, uninsured motorist coverage is an option on automobile insurance policies issued in Pennsylvania. So there is no guarantee that UM benefits are available in each accident. Fortunately, a person injured by an uninsured or unidentified driver may have several automobile insurance policies available to them, one or more of which may contain uninsured motorist benefits. The first automobile insurance policy the injured person must look to is the policy insuring the vehicle they were occupying at the time of the accident. The second policy to look to is their own automobile insurance policy that they are a named insured on. The third policy for the injured person to look to is the automobile insurance policy or policies issued to all household relatives of the injured person, as the injured person is also an "insured" under these policies as long as they are related to and live with the policyholder (such as a grandparent, parent, sibling, child or grandchild).
Finally, if a person injured by an uninsured or unidentified driver cannot obtain UM benefits under any of the above three automobile insurance policies, that injured person may under certain circumstances obtain payment of their personal injury claim from the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan (75 Pa.C.S. Sec. 1751 et seq.).
If you or a loved one is struck by an uninsured or unidentified motor vehicle while the occupant of a motor vehicle or as a pedestrian or on a bicycle, you should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine whether you have the ability to pursue a claim for personal injuries, medical expenses and lost wages caused by a negligent driver.