Under the rules of the road in Alabama, you must always remain at the accident scene. If this rule is violated, you could be faced with criminal charges. However, that doesn't provide hit and run accident victims with much consolation, particularly when someone has been seriously injured. This is where the Birmingham hit and run accident lawyers at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers can help. To learn more about hit and run law in Alabama, keep reading this article. Contact our office for your free case evaluation. Call 205-666-6000 today to learn how our Birmingham car accident lawyers can help your claim.
What Should I Do Following a Birmingham Hit-and-Run Accident?
It is never legal for anyone to leave an accident scene. However, that does not prevent many drivers from doing this quite frequently. Victims suffer severe injuries on a daily basis in hit and run accidents. This can occur when walking across a street while riding a bike, or while inside a vehicle that is hit by another car. They are left at the accident scene wondering which steps they need to take and how they will be compensated for all of the damages they have suffered.
Our personal injury attorneys at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama, will advise you on the appropriate steps that you need to take when filing a claim following a hit and run accident.
Get Medical Attention
Following a hit and run accident, your top priority should be to get medical care for the injuries you have suffered. Even if you don't immediately seem to be severely injured, it is a good idea to be checked by healthcare professionals since internal injuries could develop without you realizing it. Obtaining a medical report is also very important for the claims process.
File a Police Report
The next step that you should take is to report your accident to the police. It will be very valuable to have an official police report if you decide to pursue compensation. Give the police an accurate description of what occurred and anything you remember about the other parties involved.
Write Everything Down That You Can Recall
The sooner you are able to write down everything that took place, the better. It is very important, while things are still fresh in your mind, to note down any distinguishing characteristics regarding the other driver and their car. The most important piece of information that you could get would be to get the license plate number of the car as they are driving away. Other important pieces of information include what exactly took place, the weather and road conditions, and details of the accident scene.
Photographs are very important pieces of evidence in hit and run cases. They document a number of aspects, including the accident scene, injuries you have sustained, as well as damages to your car and other personal property. Take photos of all of these aspects as soon as you can.
Obtain Statements from Witnesses
If there are any witnesses that are able to verify what took place when the accident occurred, it is critical to get statements from them. the best thing to do is to get their contact information and account at the accident scene if possible. That will play an important role in helping to establish that the other driver was at fault.
Hire a Birmingham Personal Injury Attorney
Getting legal assistance from a personal injury attorney can make a big difference in whether you are able to get the payout that you deserve for your property damage and injuries. They will know what the right procedure is to file a claim following a hit and run accident. They will also conduct an investigation of their own to attempt to locate the driver who hit you in your accident.
How Long Do You Have To Get a Hit and Run Accident Claim Filed?
You should immediately call the police and report your hit and run accident from the accident scene. That will allow you to document your accident and gather evidence while it is available still. The police can make an investigation of the accident for evidence that can help to identify who the at-fault driver is. For most car accidents, the crash needs to be reported within 30 days to Alabama's Department of Public Safety.
Are Hit and Run Accidents Covered By Insurance?
The major issue in hit and run accident cases is that the party who is at-fault is absent. The fault laws in Alabama cannot be applied to a case when the at-fault driver's identity is not known. You will not be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, so you will instead need to look for coverage from your own insurance company. In Alabama, the minimum insurance requirements do not cover your damages from a hit and run accident. If you carry just property damage and bodily injury liability, your insurance company might deny your claim for coverage following a hit-and-run accident.
In order for your insurance company to cover your damages, you must have comprehensive, collision, or uninsured/underinsured insurance. These kinds of insurance do pay for loss from an accident no matter who was at fault. When an at-fault party flees the scene of the accident and you are unable to hold her or him financially responsible, your insurance company might have to compensate you for property damage repairs as well as your medical bills if you have the right kind of insurance. Following a hit-and-run accident, call your insurer and talk to an agent about your coverage.
If you discover that you do not have the right kind of car insurance, then an injury lawsuit might be the only other potential avenue for financial relief. Although the at-fault driver might not be there as the defendant, there could have been another party that also contributed to the injuries you have suffered. Hire a lawyer to investigate the hit-and-run accident for potential signs of third-party liability for your accident. For example, if the design of the parking lot where your collision took place is inherently dangerous, you may be owed compensation from the city or property owner.
If the Hit-and-Run Driver is Located, Will that Help My Case?
No. Personal injury claims and criminal charges are different and separate legal processes. Only the criminal case will be handled by the government prosecutor. They will not fight for your right to receive compensation.
However, your injury case should not be postponed while the prosecutor is working on the case. You have just two (2) years in Alabama to file your personal injury claim against the hit-and-run driver. It might take longer to completely investigate and then try a criminal case. To ensure that your rights are protected, contact a Birmingham hit and run accident attorney at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers as soon as you can.
Call a Birmingham Hit and Run Lawyer at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you have any questions about hit and run law in Alabama or about hit and run injury claims, call Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers and speak to one of our Birmingham personal injury attorneys. Our team of aggressive and experienced legal professionals can help develop a plan that will protect your financial interests and legal rights.