Hit-and-run accidents are infuriating, especially if you can’t track down the driver who hit you. Not only have you sustained severe injuries and financial losses, but recovering compensation is much more complicated if you can’t file an insurance claim against the other driver. But you may have options even if you can’t find the hit-and-run driver.
That’s where Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., comes in. Our Florence hit-and-run accident attorneys understand what it takes to recover compensation for you in this kind of case. We’ll handle the insurance companies, obtain the crash report to support your claim and deal with all the legal work while you get medical treatment.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your legal options after a hit-and-run accident in Florence, Alabama.
What Qualifies as a Hit-and-Run Accident?
When a driver causes a collision then flees the scene before the police arrive or without trading information with the other driver, that’s a hit-and-run accident. The reason hit-and-run accidents are such a problem is that if you don’t have the other driver’s insurance and contact information, it’s hard to recover compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Under these circumstances, many Alabama drivers must rely on uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on their own auto policies to recover compensation after a hit-and-run.
How Common Are Hit-and-Run Accidents in Florence, Alabama?
The Alabama Department of Transportation does not list hit-and-run accidents in its most recent crash data report. However, a AAA Traffic Foundation for Traffic Safety report shows about 737,100 hit-and-run crashes nationwide in one year. These crashes accounted for about 11.7 percent of all crashes nationwide and a little more than 5 percent of all U.S. crash deaths. Data from the AAA report also show at least 17 Alabama hit-and-run crashes involving at least one fatality.
Hit-and-Run Laws in Florence, AL
Two primary laws apply to Florence hit-and-run accidents. The first law says any driver involved in a collision resulting in vehicle damage, injuries, or fatalities must stop as close to the crash scene as possible without blocking traffic. The second law outlines drivers’ responsibilities after a crash and says any drivers involved in a crash must exchange the following information:
- Vehicle registration numbers
- Driver’s licenses (if asked)
Alabama law says drivers involved in an accident must see if anyone needs medical attention and alert emergency responders if necessary. Anyone convicted of breaking these laws could have their driver’s license revoked.
Potential Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Crash
Recovering compensation after a hit-and-run crash is challenging if you can’t find the driver who fled. In most cases, your best option for recovering compensation is to use your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM is an optional coverage you likely purchased when you bought your auto insurance policy. This coverage works as if you crashed with an uninsured driver and compensates you for accident-related losses up to your policy limits.
Alabama requires all auto insurance policies to include UM coverage unless a policyholder specifically declines such coverage in writing. If you have no UM coverage and can’t locate the driver who hit you, you will probably have to pay your bills out of pocket.
Another optional coverage could be useful in this scenario. If you purchased Medical Payments (MedPay) insurance, your medical bills could be covered by that insurance up to the policy limits. You could also use your healthcare insurance to cover medical bills if the hit-and-run driver cannot be found.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit-and-Run in Florence?
In Alabama, any auto accident that causes at least $250 in damage must be reported to Alabama’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 30 days. If law enforcement arrives at the scene, they may file the report with DPS for you.
If you don’t report a hit-and-run accident immediately, you might have trouble recovering compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies generally require a police report before accepting a hit-and-run accident claim. A police report filed long after the accident could result in the insurance company’s denial of your claim. Call the police immediately after a hit-and-run, and make sure they arrive before you leave the scene. You should also take videos or pictures of the scene and your vehicle’s damage.
If you can find the other driver who hit you, Alabama law allows two years from the accident date for a hit-and-run victim to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, you’ll want to take action well before that deadline, as crucial evidence can disappear or deteriorate within days or weeks of a crash. Our Florence hit-and-run accident lawyers are ready to help you hold the driver who hit you accountable for their negligence.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Protect your right to compensation after a hit-and-run by:
- Calling the police – Report the accident to the police as soon as possible. They will document the incident and initiate an investigation. This report will also be helpful for any insurance claims.
- Seeking medical attention – Even if you initially don’t think you were injured in the accident, seeing a medical professional is essential. Some injuries may not be apparent at first but could become life-threatening if left untreated.
- Gathering information – If possible, take photos or videos of the property damage, any injuries, location, and other relevant details. If you saw them, write down descriptions of the vehicle and driver who hit you.
- Looking for witnesses – Speak to witnesses who may have seen the accident. Collect their contact information and ask if they would provide a statement to the police.
- Documenting everything – Keep a record of all communications, expenses, and documentation related to the accident, including police reports, medical records, repair estimates, and other relevant paperwork.
- Consulting an attorney – Our personal injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and options after a hit-and-run crash. We can also assist with the insurance claims process and help identify the responsible party.
Why You Need Our Lawyers to Help with Your Hit-and-Run Crash Case
Hit-and-run accidents aren’t like other car crashes, and working with our car accident attorneys will make your life much easier after a crash. While you tend to your injuries, we can deal with your insurance company, file a UM or MedPay claim for you, document your losses, and help you recover as much compensation as possible. Not hiring a hit-and-run accident lawyer means you could lose the money you need to pay for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses.
Talk to Our Florence Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers Now
We know how frustrating hit-and-run accidents are and want to take the burden of pursuing compensation after a collision off your shoulders. Call Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., today or visit our contact page for a free consultation with a Florence hit-and-run accident attorney.