Hit-and-run accidents appear to be on the rise in Alabama and across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 2,564 fatalities in hit-and-run accidents occurred in one recent year – a 26 percent increase from the year before.
An Alabama hit-and-run crash can leave you feeling deflated and hopeless if you cannot locate the other driver. You may worry about how you will pay for your medical expenses, repair your car, and cover your lost income. However, you may have options for recovering compensation. Let our Alabama car accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., help you pursue them.
Since 1966, our attorneys have advocated for the rights of injury victims throughout Alabama. Our success in doing so is reflected in the verdicts and settlements we’ve secured on their behalf, as well as the AV Preeminent peer rating we have received from Martindale-Hubbell. Find out what Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can do for you during a free consultation with an Alabama hit-and-run accident lawyer.
Contact us now to discuss your legal options.
Defining a Hit-and-Run Accident in Alabama
Under Alabama Code §32-10-1, a driver involved in an accident that results in injury or death, or damage to another vehicle, must immediately stop at or near the scene and remain there until they have discharged their duties under §32-10-2. That statute requires drivers to provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number and to exhibit their driver’s license upon request to any driver or person involved in the accident. They must also provide aid or assistance to anyone who may have suffered an injury, including by calling 911. Failure to do so qualifies as a hit-and-run.
Where Do Hit and Run Accidents Most Commonly Occur?
Here are some of the places where hit-and-run accidents are most likely to occur:
- Rural roads – An accident on a rural road is less likely to have eyewitnesses, allowing the driver to flee the scene more easily.
- Nightlife districts – Nightlife districts may have a higher concentration of intoxicated drivers more likely to flee the scene of an accident.
- Parking lots and garages – Drivers may flee the scene of an accident with a pedestrian in a panic. Alternately, they may fail to leave their information after a collision with an unattended vehicle in the belief that they won’t get caught.
- Close to the hit-and-run driver’s home – An at-fault driver may be more tempted to leave the scene if they know they can get home quickly.
Why Drivers Flee the Scene of an Accident
Some drivers flee the scene of a motor vehicle crash despite having a legal obligation to stop. Common reasons why drivers choose to flee after a crash include:
- They lack auto liability insurance as required by Alabama law
- They do not have a valid driver’s license
- They are driving a stolen car
- They are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- They have contraband in their vehicles, such as drugs or illegal firearms
- They fear criminal prosecution for assault-by-auto or vehicular homicide
- They wish to avoid involvement with law enforcement due to active arrest warrants
More simply, an auto accident can trigger a person’s fight-or-flight response, causing a driver to flee instinctively. When they regain their senses, they may feel embarrassed or guilty about returning to the accident scene.
Potential Insurance Options in Hit-and-Run Crashes
You may have options for recovering compensation for your injuries and losses if you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident in Alabama and cannot locate the driver. These options include filing claims against your auto insurance policy if you have certain coverages, such as:
- Uninsured motorist coverage can help if you cannot identify or locate the hit-and-run driver. UM coverage means your insurer steps in for the hit-and-run driver’s insurance, paying you compensation for all your expenses and losses from the accident. While such coverage is optional in Alabama, it is included in all policies by default unless the policyholder rejects it in writing.
- MedPay coverage is an optional coverage that will provide you money for medical expenses to treat injuries you suffered in the crash, regardless of fault for the accident.
- Comprehensive/collision coverage is an optional coverage that will pay for repair expenses for your vehicle.
How Our Attorneys Can Help Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents in Alabama
If you’ve been hurt by a driver who fled the scene, you have enough to deal with already without taking on the complicated legal claims process. The Alabama hit-and-run accident attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. can help you by:
- Gathering evidence from the accident to try to locate the hit-and-run driver and to prove their fault for the crash
- Evaluating your legal options, including the possibility of seeking compensation through your insurance
- Documenting your injuries and losses to prove what financial compensation you may be entitled to
- Preparing and filing your insurance claims and negotiating with adjusters on your behalf so that you can focus on your medical recovery
- Taking your claim to court and trial, if doing so becomes necessary to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve
Steps to Take If You Are the Victim of a Hit and Run
You can take the following steps after a hit-and-run collision to protect your well-being and your rights to compensation:
- Get medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the injuries you suffered in the crash.
- Gather evidence from the crash scene by taking photos or videos with your cell phone and collecting contact information from any eyewitnesses.
- Follow your medical provider’s treatment plan and recommendations.
- Keep copies of bills, invoices, and receipts for expenses you incurred due to the crash, as well as copies of your pay stubs or income statements if you miss work or lose income.
- Request a copy of the police accident report.
- Document the pain and difficulties you experience during your recovery in a journal.
- Reach out to an Alabama hit-and-run accident lawyer from Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., to discuss how we can help you pursue financial compensation.
Contact a Skilled Alabama Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Today
Were you hurt in a hit-and-run crash in Alabama? Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., today. We can investigate the incident, locate the at-fault driver, and hold them accountable. If that driver can’t be found, we can explore alternative options for getting you the money you need.
Tell us more about your case during a free consultation with a skilled Alabama hit-and-run lawyer at our firm.