Car accidents are terrible and traumatic anytime they cause injuries or loss of life, but when the at-fault driver flees the scene, they become even more stressful and upsetting.
There are any number of reasons why a driver would flee the scene of a hit-and-run. It is possible they were driving without a valid license or insurance, or they may have had outstanding tickets that would have been discovered when the police arrived. They could have been drunk and worried about failing a breathalyzer. If they were drunk, it is also possible they may not have even noticed they caused a crash.
Many times, drivers flee accident scenes simply because they don’t want to face the consequences of their actions. But when you’re injured because of their negligence, you don’t deserve to be the one forced to face the consequences alone.
Not only can drivers who commit hit-and-runs be convicted of felonies in criminal court, they can also be sued for personal injuries in civil court. To get the money you need to compensate you after a hit-and-run, contact our experienced Alabama car accident attorneys today.
What to Do Immediately After the Crash
Firstly, stay where you are. Call 911 to report the accident and bring emergency responders to the scene to treat your injuries.
Write down anything you can remember about the vehicle that hit you that could potentially help identify it and the driver, including:
- License plate (even a partial plate number could help identify the driver)
- Identifying traits such as bumper stickers, accessories, or damage caused in the crash
If you got a good look at the driver, make sure to write down what you can remember about them as well. Compare your notes on the driver and the vehicle with any witnesses who may have seen the crash. Take note of what direction the vehicle was traveling when it left the scene. The police will collect this information to help their investigation into locating the driver. Knowing which direction it headed could help identify the vehicle via security or traffic cameras.
Don’t forget to record your own damages. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, of your injuries, and the scene of the crash. These pictures can be used to help show how severe your injuries are (and how much money you might be owed), as well as prove when and how they happened. Then you should contact a lawyer.
What Happens When the Other Driver is Found?
When the driver of the other vehicle is found, your accident can proceed like a typical car accident claim. You can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance for your vehicle damage as well as your injuries and pain and suffering.
You might also be eligible to get punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are intended to pay you back for your losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the driver who caused the crash and then fled. Alabama allows victims of malicious or exceptionally negligent accidents like hit-and-runs to get up to three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $1.5 million (whichever is less) in punitive damages.
However, if the hit-and-run driver’s insurance provider reaches out to you first and offers a settlement, you should not accept until after speaking to a lawyer. Because their policy holder fled the scene, the insurance company knows they will have a very difficult time proving that person is not at fault if it goes to court.
But they also know that if you accept their initial offer, you can’t demand more money later, even if you need it. That’s why their first offer will typically be a lot smaller than what you actually deserve and can get. An experienced auto accident attorney will be to determine if it’s a fair offer and help calculate how much you are actually owed.
What Happens If the Other Driver Can’t Be Identified?
If the driver who hit you is never found, it doesn’t mean that you are completely out of luck. You may be able to get compensation from your own insurance if you are injured in a hit-and-run if you’ve purchased uninsured/underinsured driver coverage.
However, your insurance provider may try to deny your claim anyway, even if you have this coverage. If this is what is happening, call our firm today and we’ll go over your insurance policy with a fine-tooth comb to help determine whether or not your insurance provider has any valid reason to deny you. If they don’t, we can help you pursue a bad faith claim against your insurance company to get the money you need to recover from your injuries.
Call The Vance Law Firm Today
Whether you were injured in Montgomery, Selma, Troy, or elsewhere in Alabama, and whether you were injured while riding a bike, crossing the street, or while driving your own car, you deserve compensation. And at The Vance Law Firm, we want to help you get it.
We hold drivers who commit hit-and-runs accountable for their actions, and when they can’t be identified, we make sure they’re victims aren’t neglected. Contact us today to learn how we can help you in a free case consultation.