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This discussion began with the story of a Providence man who hit three people with car and drove off with one of the people impaled in his windshield. The same issues could have been raised by the story reported by NBC10 of the West Greenwich man who hit a State Police cruiser while text messaging.

I left off with the issue of uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage. In Rhode Island if the driver of the hit and run vehicle is never identified or is uninsured, then you can pursue a claim for your personal injury damages against the uninsured motorist portion of your insurance policy. Interestingly, if the driver is not identified you will not be able to pursue an uninsured motorist claim for property damage.

If the driver who caused the injuries has insurance, but not enough to fully compensate the injured party for their damages, then underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage will apply. In Rhode Island an injured person is entitled to the full value of their damages and can collect the difference between the damages and the coverage available from the hit and run driver’s (liability) policy. For example if you sustain damages in the amount of $100,000 and the liability policy of the other driver has a limit of $25,000, then you can collect up to $75,000 on your UIM policy as long as your policy limits are sufficient.

The moral of the story: Be careful and attentive when you get out of a car on the side of a highway and make sure you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

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