Are you covered in a hit-and-run accident? - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Are you covered in a hit-and-run accident?

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Hit-and-run accidents are a common occurrence throughout the state.

LSU's Data Report says there were over 22,000 such crashes last year.

Although it's crucial to have insurance, unfortunately, not much can be done in these cases, a lesson one resident had to learn the hard way.

Mary Harst was heading south on Lake Street one afternoon, preparing to get onto 210.

She passed through the first yield without a problem, but at the second one, a driver in a tan truck with a black hood rear-ended her. That driver subsequently got out of the truck.

"She says, 'Please don't call the cops. My daddy just died.' I said 'I'm sorry your dad died, but I just have to.' and I said, 'You're going to get run over, you have to get back in your car. I"m fixing to dial 911,' " said Harst. 

Once the driver got back into her truck, Harst says she sped off down 210.

"I took off and followed her, but I was jeopardizing my life and other peoples lives around me," said Harst.

She says the driver was swerving back and forth, trying to lose her.

"I was shaking," said Harst. "I was trying to dial 911, I dropped my phone. I couldn't get it to camera. I was just shaken up."

Now, Harst is faced with a high deductible under her collision coverage. Her uninsured motorist coverage, which would fully take care of the costs of the repairs, does not apply in this case.

"If it's a hit-and-run, well then, unless that person is apprehended, they won't be able to ascertain whether this person was insured or not," said Tommy Curtis of Curtis Insurance.

Curtis says uninsured motorist coverage is important to have, but for hit-and-run situations, is hard to claim.

"Companies just want to make sure they're under obligation to pay the claim," said Curtis. "That it does apply in this case. They don't want to wind up paying a claim where it turns out the other driver was insured." 

Collision coverage will take care of a hit-and-run. There need to be witnesses to the accident for uninsured motorist to be claimed.

"Somebody hit this insured vehicle that spun her around several times," said Curtis. "The car took off and they never found out who it was, but it happened right next to a Pitt Grill with a lot of witnesses that saw it. She had the witnesses, the company paid her injuries and they covered the vehicle." 

Harst is still looking for the driver she describes as a young girl with blue eyes and long brown hair, going by either Jessica or Jennifer. 

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