Car accidents are traumatic anytime they cause injuries or fatalities, but when the at-fault driver flees the scene, they become even more stressful and upsetting to the victims.
Unfortunately, drivers flee the scenes of serious crashes for many reasons.
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 driving impaired, it’s 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 face the consequences of the crash 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.
First, 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 its:
If you got a good look at the driver, make sure to write down what you can remember about them. 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 them locate 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, injuries, and the scene of the crash. These pictures can be used to help show the severity of your injuries (and how much money you might be owed for them), as well as prove when and how they happened.
You should then seek medical attention, even if you feel fine. Here’s why:
Your health should always be your top priority, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution and get a professional medical evaluation. Then you should contact an experienced Montgomery car accident lawyer to begin building your claim.
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, 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 injured victims of malicious or exceptionally negligent accidents like hit-and-runs to get up to three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $1,500,000 (whichever is greater) 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 policyholder 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 Montgomery auto accident attorney will be to determine if it’s a fair offer and help calculate how much you are actually owed.
If the driver who hit you is never found, it doesn’t mean that you are 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 happens, 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.
Whether you were injured while biking, crossing the street, or driving in Montgomery, Selma, Troy, or elsewhere in Alabama, you deserve compensation. And at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, 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 their victims aren’t neglected. Contact us today to learn how we can help you in a free case consultation.
Originally published July 26, 2021.