One of the essential duties of care all drivers have in Alabama is to remain at the scene of an accident until the driver has fulfilled his or her responsibilities. These include contacting 911 for medical care if necessary, exchanging contact information with other drivers and swapping insurance details. Fleeing the scene of a car accident without fulfilling these duties is the crime of hit-and-run. As the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Alabama, learn your rights and potential claim options according to state law.
What Do You Do in a Hit/Run Situation?
The law requiring drivers to give information and render aid after an accident is Alabama Code section 32-10-2. This statute makes it mandatory for the driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident that causes injuries, property damage or death to stop at the scene of the crash. The driver must give his or her name, address and vehicle registration number, as well as show a driver’s license upon request. The driver must also render reasonable assistance to any injured individuals, including call the police or transporting the victim to a hospital.
Breaching any of the requirements in Title 32, Chapter 10 as a driver could constitute the crime of hit-and-run, punishable with fines and potential jail time. If someone committed the crime of hit-and-run against you, remain calm and call the police. Request medical assistance if necessary. Collect any available evidence while at the scene of the crash, including photographs of your injuries or property damages. Then, call a hit-and-run accident attorney to help you negotiate your claim with an insurance company.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit-and-Run?
You should call the police to report a hit-and-run immediately from the scene of the accident. This will help you document the accident and obtain evidence while it is still available. The police can investigate the crash for evidence that could identify the at-fault driver. For most auto accidents, you must report the crash to the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 30 days. The DPS will need to hear about a crash if it caused at least $250 in damages or any injuries. If you called the police, they may submit a crash report to the DPS on your behalf.
Does Insurance Cover Hit/Run?
The main issue in a hit/run accident case is the absence of the at-fault party. Alabama’s fault laws cannot apply to a case where the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown. Instead of pursuing compensation from the at-fault party, you will have to look to your own insurance provider for coverage. The minimum insurance requirements in Alabama will not cover your damages in a hit-and-run accident, however. If you only carry bodily injury and property damage liability, your insurance provider may deny your claim for coverage after a hit-and-run.
You must have uninsured/underinsured, collision or comprehensive insurance for your provider to pay for your damages. These types of insurance pay for your losses in an accident regardless of who was at fault. If the at-fault party fled the scene and you cannot hold him or her financially responsible, your insurer may still pay for your medical bills and property damage repairs if you have the correct type of insurance. Call your insurance company after a hit-and-run accident to discuss your coverage with an agent.
If you find out you do not have the right type of car insurance, your only other possibility for financial relief may be an injury lawsuit. While the at-fault driver may not be around to serve as the defendant, another party may have also contributed to your injuries. Hire an attorney to investigate your hit-and-run for possible signs of third-party liability. If the parking lot where the collision happened had an inherently dangerous design, for example, the property owner or the city could owe you compensation. A personal injury lawyer from Salter Ferguson, LLC could help you litigate a hit-and-run case in Alabama.