No one expects to be involved in a car accident. When you’re hurt in a crash, it is natural to be in shock, frustrated, and even angry that it happened. These feelings can be amplified significantly when the other driver fails to stop or flees the scene before you can exchange contact and insurance information.
In the aftermath of a hit-and-run crash, you likely have many questions. “How will I pay my medical bills?” and “How will I make up for my lost pay?” are some of the most common issues people face. Without knowing who the other driver is and having the opportunity to seek fair compensation from their auto insurer, you could struggle under the weight of unexpected expenses from a crash you didn’t cause.
So, what can you do if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run car accident in Huntsville? One thing you can do is talk to an Alabama car accident lawyer. The Huntsville hit-and-run accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge have over 50 years of experience and have recovered more than $125 million in total compensation for accident victims. We have extensive experience helping people who’ve been hurt in hit-and-run accidents seek the compensation they need to rebuild their lives after a crash.
Contact our Huntsville office to speak with us about your case today. The consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no further obligations on your part.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident in Huntsville?
A hit-and-run accident happens when someone is involved in a crash and then drives or runs away from the scene.
Alabama Code Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 32-10-1 states that any driver involved in an accident that causes property damage, injuries, or death must stop and remain at the scene until police and emergency medical personnel arrive. State law also says drivers involved in an accident are also required to provide their name, address, vehicle registration number, and (upon request) their driver’s license to any other party involved in the crash.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Huntsville
If you’ve just been involved in an accident and it looks like a driver is trying to flee the scene, here’s what you need to do:
- Get as much information on the vehicle as you can. Try to take a picture of the vehicle if you can. If not, write down everything you remember and give the information to the police so they can locate the driver who hit you.
- Don’t pursue the other driver. You’ll just put yourself in danger by chasing the other motorist, and you need to stay at the scene until police and medical personnel arrive.
- Document the accident scene. Take pictures of your injuries, the damage to your vehicles, and anything of note in the broader crash area. If anyone else saw the crash, get their name and contact information.
- File an accident report. If a driver who flees an accident scene is never found, an accident report is one of the best pieces of proof you’ll have that a crash occurred. Make sure the police file an accident report before you leave the scene of the crash.
- See a doctor. If you aren’t taken to a hospital from the accident scene, you need to see your doctor as soon as you can. Internal injuries from the crash may not have fully manifested, and you’ll also want to have your doctor document all the injuries you suffered in the crash.
- Stay off social media. Don’t post anything about the accident on social media because the insurance company could potentially take anything you say out of context, twist it, and use it against you. You’ll also want to avoid giving any statement to insurance companies until you’ve hired a lawyer.
- Hire an attorney. Recovering the compensation you need after a hit-and-run crash can be a significant challenge. Hiring a hit-and-run accident lawyer means you can let them handle the investigation and legal work while you’re recovering from your injuries. Getting help from an attorney also gives you a better chance of recovering the maximum amount of compensation for your losses.
Common Causes of Huntsville Hit-and-Run Accidents
No single cause applies to all hit-and-run accidents, but some of the more common reasons people flee the scene of a crash include:
- Impaired driving — Drivers impaired by drugs, alcohol, or certain prescription medications may experience a range of harmful effects that can make an accident more likely. These effects include changes in perception and cognition, an increased likelihood of risky behavior, and dulled responses. If a driver is impaired and is involved in an accident, they may attempt to flee because they know they can face substantial consequences for driving while impaired.
- Distracted driving — Distracted drivers might fail to see another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist in their path. If a distracted driver is involved in an accident, they might try to leave the scene for fear of being punished for driving while they were distracted.
- Lack of insurance — A driver who isn’t carrying auto insurance or doesn’t meet Alabama’s minimum coverage requirements might leave the scene of a crash because they don’t want to face the financial and legal consequences of driving without proper insurance.
- Outstanding warrants – Some hit-and-run drivers may flee the scene because they fear being arrested on outstanding warrants or for other reasons law enforcement may want to take them in.
- Panic — In some cases, drivers flee the scene of a crash because they simply panic and aren’t thinking about what they’re doing. However, these drivers are still breaking the law and should be held responsible for their actions.
Can I Get Compensation for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Recovering compensation after a hit-and-run accident depends on two key factors: What type of insurance you have and if police catch the driver who fled.
If the other driver is never found, you’ll have to rely on your own auto insurance to cover your losses from the crash. You can use your optional uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to file a claim, as hit-and-run drivers are considered uninsured drivers by insurance companies. Alabama does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, though, so you might be out of luck if you don’t have it.
It is essential to get help from an attorney when pursuing a UM claim for a hit-and-run accident. Even though you are dealing with “your” insurance company, their objective is still to make your claim go away for as little money as possible. In contrast, your attorney will stand up for your best interests – not the insurance company’s.
If you find the driver who fled the scene, the process is like any other car accident. You can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the other driver and seek compensation for your losses, the same as any other crash. A personal injury claim against a hit-and-run driver allows you to seek compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
Contact our Experienced Huntsville Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Today
At Morris, King & Hodge, our hit-and-run accident lawyers stand ready to help people who’ve been injured in accidents in Huntsville. Contact us by phone or online today for a free consultation.