Visitor Question

How do I find a hit and run vehicle’s insurance provider?

Submitted By: Michael (Chicago, Illinois)

I was involved in a traffic accident where the driver fled the scene. We were able to locate the vehicle that night because a Good Samaritan followed the vehicle and saw where it was parked. I was able to get enough of the license plate to confirm it.

So the police report has the vehicle information and who the owner is, but so far no idea if he was the one actually driving. No arrest was made to my knowledge and I haven’t been asked to identify the driver.

What I need to know is, now that I have the vehicle information, how can I determine whether the vehicle was insured and who the provider is? Obviously, if it’s not insured, I will have to follow through with a civil suit.

It’s also important to note that, at the time of the accident I thought I was insured, but due to a miscommunication with the company, auto pay had not established and my insurance was effectively canceled two weeks prior to the accident. So I was effectively uninsured and my (former) provider is being no help at all.

So it’s quite the predicament, but my not being insured shouldn’t prevent me from seeking compensation for an accident that wasn’t my fault, correct?  Thank you for any information you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Michael,

For the sake of this answer we will presume the other driver was at fault. Having been uninsured at the time of the collision is unfortunate. However, because you have the car owner’s name and address, you can effectively pursue compensation for the repairs to your car.

Whether the car owner was driving the car at the time of the collision has no relevance for liability issues. Absent the car having been stolen, and with the continued presumption the driver was at fault, the car owner remains liable for your car repairs, even if he or she was not driving.

Obtain several estimates for the repairs to your car. Enclose copies of them in a certified letter to the car owner. Tell the car owner you are the owner of the car damaged in the collision and would like them to pay for the repairs to your car. There is no need to be threatening.

Example of letter requesting car repair be made by responsible party:

Dear Mr/Mrs _______:

On ______, 2017 your car struck my vehicle at the intersection of _________.

It appears you, or the driver left the scene of the collision. Nevertheless, your car damaged my car.

I have enclosed an estimate for the repairs to my car. Please immediately send a check for that amount to me at the following address:

Hopefully we can resolve this amicably. If you have any questions, please e-mail or call me.

E-mail: ______________
Phone: ______________

Sincerely,

___________
Your name

If you are unable to resolve the matter amicably, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit against the car owner.

In the State of Illinois, small claims courts have jurisdiction to hear cases in an amount up to $10,000. Because Illinois Small Claims Courts have a more relaxed atmosphere, it is usually not necessary to be represented by an attorney. For more information about Illinois Small Claims, visit the webpage for the Illinois Attorney General.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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