Every car accident causes those involved to be flustered and in many cases, overwhelmed. However, when a driver speeds off from the scene of an accident that was the result of their negligence, a victim may be left confused about their next steps. If you have questions about your legal rights and your ability to receive compensation for your losses resulting from your hit and run car accident, contact an experienced hit and run lawyer for a free consultation at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500.
Tennessee Hit and Run Accident Laws
The state of Tennessee has very strict laws regarding the requirement for all parties involved in a car accident to stay at the scene of the accident.
Legal Requirements of All Drivers Involved in Car Accidents
All drivers in the state of Tennesse must follow the following laws after an accident:
- Stop their vehicle and park as close to the scene of the car accident as possible without endangering anyone's life or obstructing traffic, if possible.
- Contact the police if the damage to property is over $50 or any person in any vehicle suffers any kind of injury (Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)-55-10-106)
- Provide all contact information, as well as insurance information to all other drivers including name, address, and vehicle registration information (Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)-55-10-103)
Penalties for Drivers Who Leave the Scene of an Accident
Any driver that fails to follow these guidelines, and leaves the scene of a car accident will receive a misdemeanor charge if any property was damaged as a result of the car accident. A misdemeanor charge can result in fines, jail sentencing, and the loss of a driver's license. If the damage to property is greater than $500, the person who left the scene of the accident can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and face even more serious charges.
However, if any victim suffers an injury related to a hit and run accident, the negligent party that leaves the scene of the accident can face a Class A misdemeanor with even more severe penalties. Finally, if the driver actually knew, or should have known, that a person could have (or did) suffer a fatality as a result of the car accident, and they still left the scene of the accident, the driver may receive a Class E Felony charge.
Steps to Take After Your Hit and Run Accident in Tennessee
If a driver leaves the scene of the accident, you may feel confused as to what steps to follow. The course of action is similar to that of a typical car accident. Consider following these steps after your hit and run car accident in the state of Tennessee:
- Contact the police and provide as much detail as possible to law enforcement regarding the car accident and the other driver and vehicle that fled the scene of the car crash.
- Attempt to write down any details that you might remember regarding the car accident or the other driver.
- Notice if there are any cameras on the streets or in nearby office buildings that may have caught the accident on video.
- Make sure to seek immediate medical evaluation and treatments for any of your injuries.
- Keep detailed notes regarding all of your property damage to your vehicle and the contents inside.
- Keep a detailed journal of any pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your hit and run car accident.
How Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage Can Help You After Your Car Accident
According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, every motorist in the state of Tennessee is required by law to carry insurance to cover any losses or damage as a result of their own negligence. If a driver makes the decision to flee the scene of a car accident, the victim may not have any actual party to file a claim against to receive compensation for their injuries and losses. While the state of Tennessee requires that all car insurance companies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to their policyholders, it is up to the policyholder to make the determination to pay for this extra coverage.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Your first step is to directly contact your insurance company to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. It is important that you request an actual copy of your insurance policy in order to better understand what your coverages are with respect to any uninsured driver, or your coverage in the event of a hit and run accident.
Insurance Company Negotiations
Once it is determined that your insurance policy does cover your injuries and losses with respect to hit and run accidents, you may feel relief that your insurance company will fairly compensate you for your economic and non-economic damages. However, insurance companies never like to make substantial payouts to victims, even if they are their own policyholders. Therefore, the process to negotiate with your insurance company may prove to be adversarial and confrontational in nature. Your insurance company may attempt the following tactics:
- Argue that you are at fault for the hit and run accident instead of the other driver
- Attempt to offer a low settlement quickly in the hope that you will accept an amount that is less than you deserve to cover your injuries and losses
- Use stall and delay tactics to frustrate you, or prevent you from meeting the statute of limitations deadlines in a Tennessee court for your personal injury claim
- Attempt to request a full medical history to claim your injuries were the result of a pre-existing condition
- Attempt to record a conversation with you to use your words against you at a later time
If you feel that your insurance company is not providing you with a full or fair compensation amount or settlement for your economic and non-economic losses related to your hit and run accident, contact a Tennessee hit and run lawyer at Labrum Law Firm to negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company and get you the settlement you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Hit and Run Lawyer Today
If you suffered any physical, emotional, or financial harm as a result of a hit and run accident, learn more about your legal right to receive compensation by contacting an experienced hit and run lawyer for a free consultation at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500. We look forward to the opportunity to visit with you about your legal options.