What To Do If You’re The Victim Of A Hit And Run
Being injured in a hit and run accident can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. When you have no idea who may have caused your injuries, it can be daunting to think about how you’ll pay for your medical expenses, loss of income, property damage and other accident-related expenses. At Moore Law Firm, our auto accident attorneys can help you pursue all possible avenues of compensation and help you understand your rights as a victim of a hit and run.
Hit And Run Accidents Are On The Rise
According to recent research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of hit and run crashes is rising at an alarming pace in the U.S. In 2016, there were a total of 1,980 fatal hit and run accidents resulting in 2,049 fatalities–the highest annual number since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began collecting statistics on fatal motor vehicle crashes in 1975. Almost 65 percent of people killed in these crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
Hit And Run Is A Crime In Alabama
In Alabama, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving injuries or death can be charged as a felony. Regardless of who is responsible for the crash, all involved parties are required to stop, provide information such as name, address, driver’s license number and insurance information. Drivers must also render reasonable assistance to those who are injured, which means you should call 911 and administer first aid if you can.
After a Hit And Run Accident
After an accident, contact the police right away. If you’ve been injured as a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist, it’s vital to get yourself out of harm’s way to avoid being hit again if you’re on the road. Check to see if there are witnesses, ask for assistance and get their contact information. Write down a description of the vehicle, license plate and its driver. It’s also important to jot down the details of what occurred while they are fresh in your mind. Take pictures of the scene, your injuries and damage to your vehicle.
Report The Accident To Your Auto Insurance Company
Even if a hit and run driver can’t be located, your own car insurance company may provide compensation through medical benefits coverage and uninsured motorist coverage (UM). Although these types of insurance are not required in Alabama, adding them to your auto policy is well worth the cost to ensure your medical bills and other damages are covered in case of a hit and run or an accident with an uninsured motorist. Your medical insurance may also cover all or some of your medical expenses.
While you may think that your auto insurance company is looking out for your best interests, most will try to pay as little as possible and may deny your claim altogether. Police use all kinds of evidence when investigating hit and run cases, including traffic camera footage, eyewitness accounts, vehicle and driver descriptions and license plate numbers. This important evidence provides proof of the accident and your injuries when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Contact An Auto Accident Attorney
Communicating with insurance companies can be stressful, especially when you or a loved one is trying to heal. Accident-related expenses and lost time from work can put you and your family in a precarious financial situation. An auto accident attorney will protect your rights and fight to help you recover the full amount of compensation you deserve. Your attorney will handle negotiations with your insurance company and ensure that all required, relevant documentation is provided to support your claim.
If the police have hit a dead end, your legal team may employ the services of investigators that can try to find the hit and run driver. If the driver is found, you can bring a civil action against them to help you recover damages for your medical bills, past and future loss of income, pain and suffering and other damages. You may be able to sue for punitive damages as well, especially if the driver was intoxicated or behaving recklessly. Alabama has strict laws surrounding punitive damages, so it’s vital to seek the counsel of an experienced auto accident attorney to ensure your hit and run case is handled properly.
If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a hit and run, our auto accident attorneys at Moore Law Firm can help. Call 251-445-7602 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.