Posted in Car Accidents on February 7, 2020
Every day in Alabama, drivers break traffic laws and put others in danger. As a victim on the receiving end of a broken roadway law, you could face significant challenges during your auto insurance claim. After a hit-and-run accident, for example, you may not know who to hold responsible or how to file a claim. Taking the right steps after a hit-and-run in Alabama could help you recover fair compensation for your losses.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Try to stay calm and remain at the scene after a hit-and-run accident in Alabama. Do not move if you feel like you have injuries. Act quickly to record everything you remember about the accident, including a description of the fleeing driver’s vehicle or license plate numbers, if you saw them. Then, protect your rights by taking a few critical steps.
- Call 911. Although the at-fault driver might not have stuck around to give you his or her information, you may be able to identify the driver with help from the police. Call 911 and report the hit-and-run. Remain at the scene until help arrives.
- Collect evidence. With help from a police officer, gather evidence that could lead to the identity of the other driver, such as photographs of the scene, eyewitness accounts, and video surveillance footage.
- Go to the doctor. Get medical attention for any injuries you suffered in the auto accident. Do not delay your medical care, as this could give your insurance company a reason to deny your claim.
- Call your insurance provider. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance in Alabama, this will cover your damages and medical bills even if you do not have the information of the at-fault party. Call your insurer to find out about coverage.
- Contact a hit-and-run accident attorney. Once you initiate the insurance claims process, or if you do not have uninsured motorist insurance, contact an attorney for assistance. A hit-and-run lawyer can help you seek restitution through all available outlets.
A Huntsville car accident lawyer can help you negotiate with your own insurance provider for a fair settlement according to your policy. If you do not have the right type of insurance, a lawyer may be able to help you file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party instead, such as another driver or an auto part manufacturer. Someone other than the hit-and-run driver may be liable for your damages. Consulting with an attorney can help you navigate the settlement process.
Alabama Hit-and-Run Laws
Alabama Code 32-10-2 is the state’s law against causing an accident and leaving the scene prematurely. The hit-and-run law states that any driver involved in an accident that causes property damage, injuries or deaths must stop at the scene and exchange his or her information with other parties involved. This information includes the driver’s full name, address and vehicle registration number, as well as the driver’s license if requested. The driver must also render aid to anyone with injuries, including calling 911 or arranging for transportation to the nearest hospital. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident, offer contact information or render aid is the crime of hit-and-run.
Penalties for Hit-and-Run
Striking another vehicle or person and fleeing the scene does not only lead to civil liability for the guilty driver but also criminal charges. If the hit-and-run accident caused personal injuries, it is a Class C felony in Alabama, punishable with 366 days to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The criminal charge and penalties are the same if the accident caused the death of a person. If the crash caused property damage only, whether the other driver was in the vehicle at the time of the crash or not, a hit-and-run is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this crime are up to one year in jail and no more than $6,000 in fines. Talk to an attorney for assistance if you were recently in a hit-and-run accident in Alabama.