What To Do In A Hit and Run Accident?
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is always a stressful experience, especially when the other motorist flees the scene of the accident. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are more common than you might think. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a hit and run occurs every 60 seconds on roadways across the United States. Many people are uncertain as to what to do in a hit and run accident. Those involved in a hit and run accident should put the safety of all involved as top priority. Motorists involved in accidents where the other motorist fled the scene should understand what steps are necessary to protect their legal rights and potential compensation. Consider scheduling a free case review with Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident in Tennessee?
A hit and run accident is a collision where at least one party involved leaves the scene of the accident without providing their contact and insurance information or offering to render aid. If a driver leaves the scene of the crash without stopping or providing the necessary information to other parties involved, they can face criminal penalties for committing a hit and run. In most states, leaving the scene of a car accident is considered a criminal offense. Tennessee is one of those states that make hit and runs illegal. Under Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) § 55-10-103, any person who causes an accident resulting in bodily injuries or death to another person in a public place has a legal obligation to stop, render aid to the victims, and provide their information.
If a driver involved in a car accident cannot be identified or found, victims cannot file an insurance claim against their insurance company to seek compensation for their losses. In that case, it may be possible to recover damages through your own insurance company when the coverage is sufficient to cover losses. Those with uninsured motorist coverage may be able to recoup damages through their insurance company in a hit and run accident. According to The Institutes Insurance Research Council, Tennessee has the third-highest number of uninsured motorists in the country (23.7%). Insured drivers in Tennessee may benefit from purchasing uninsured motorist coverage for their auto insurance to protect them against both uninsured drivers and hit and run accidents. Those involved in a hit and run accident in Tennessee may want to consider scheduling a consultation with Labrum Law.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
Knowing what to do in a hit and run accident is critical. The steps taken following the collision may impact a motorist's ability to seek compensation for injuries and damages. While being involved in a hit and run can be stressful and frustrating, it is important to remain calm and refrain from attempting to chase the motorist who fled the scene.
Motorists should take the following steps following a hit and run accident to preserve any compensation they may be entitled to:
Make Sure All Involved Are Safe
Establish that everyone involved is safe and there are no serious injuries. If someone suffered injuries as the result of the crash, call 911 and request an ambulance. Victims are often injured without realizing it at the time of the accident. If possible, activate hazard lights and move your car to a safe location to avoid additional collisions.
Gather As Much Evidence as Possible.
Motorists should try to memorize the vehicle's color, make, and model, if possible, when another driver flees the scene of an accident. In some cases, it may be possible to memorize the license plate or appearance of the other driver. Motorists should make notes regarding any details, even when they seem minor. When there are witnesses to the accident, police should take their statements which can be an invaluable piece of evidence in any hit and run accident case. Take photos of vehicle damage, skid marks, the accident scene, and surrounding details that may be helpful.
Seek Medical Attention
Some injuries do not present symptoms for hours, days, or weeks following a hit and run accident. Victims may experience delayed symptoms, which may become apparent after the post-accident adrenaline subsides. Prior to filing a personal injury claim it is recommended that victims seek medical attention, as medical records pertaining to injuries are vital to supporting the claim and recovering any compensation that may be available.
Notify the Insurance Company
If the other driver remains at the scene of the accident, victims will need to file a claim against their insurance company if the other motorist is at fault. When a motorist leaves the scene of an accident it is not likely victims will be able to file a claim on their insurance. In this case, victims must report the hit and run accident to their own insurance company right away, within 24 hours of the accident when possible.
Consider Contacting an Attorney
Seeking compensation following a hit and run accident can be complicated. When another motorist flees the scene of an accident, filing a claim against their insurance company is often not possible. Victims may want to consider a consultation with a skilled attorney who can assist in gathering evidence and determining any compensation the victim may be entitled to. An experienced attorney may be able to investigate to identify and locate the driver who fled the scene.
If the injured victim does not have uninsured motorist coverage, the only way to obtain compensation may be to identify and find the driver who fled the scene, which can be difficult. If the police cannot identify the driver after the hit and run, an experienced attorney may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries and losses.
Contact the Tennessee Car Accident Attorneys at Labrum Law
Those who have been injured in a hit and run accident in Tennessee should not suffer when another motorist who was responsible for the accident left the scene. Consider contacting a knowledgeable and skilled attorney who may assist in conducting a comprehensive investigation, identifying the driver, and work to seek the compensation motorists may be entitled to. Those needing further guidance regarding what to do in a hit and run accident can reach out to the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500.