Huntsville Hit-And-Run Injury? What You Need To Know.

Huntsville Hit-And-Run Injury? What You Need To Know.

Crash! In an instant, everything changes. If you’ve been in a car crash, you know that immediate feeling. You are dazed. What just happened? Is everyone OK? Just as you are processing what happened, the other driver speeds from the scene. You are a hit-and-run victim.

What do you do? Over the years, I’ve represented many people injured in hit-and-run crashes. These claims are especially challenging. In many cases, you can still recover compensation for your personal injuries and damages.

Hit-and-run crashes are an increasing problem across Alabama. These crashes are a problem for other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, on our roadways. After reading numerous headlines (Here, Here and Here) over the last couple months about fatal hit-and-run crashes across Alabama, I wanted to discuss some of the issues we see in these serious cases.

Why Did The Other Driver Leave The Scene?

That’s a question I’ve heard many times when interviewing clients. Why? While a driver may leave the scene for many different reasons, a few are very common. Here are four excuses we’ve heard many times:

Impaired / Intoxicated. This is a frequent reason some drivers flee accident scenes. Last year, we helped a family injured by a drunk driver who struck their vehicle on Memorial Parkway, kept driving, and then struck another vehicle on Whitesburg Drive before being arrested. That drunk driver had a long history of DUI arrests. He should have been in jail long before he crashed into my clients!

I always think about a drunk driving hit-and-run case early in my legal career. Two ladies were driving home from the store in Athens. A drunk driver crossed the center line, hit their car, and sped from the scene. A short time later, the local police found the drunk driver passed out in his car.

An impaired driver may fear arrest. He may also be too impaired to even understand what he just did.

Outstanding Warrants. This is a common reason for hit-and-run crashes in our area. In one of our current cases, the “wanted” driver crashed into our client on a downtown Huntsville street, then ran on foot from the scene. Police later found the driver hiding in a dumpster. He already had several warrants for his arrest due to prior crimes.

No Insurance. Across Alabama, many drivers fail to carry required liability insurance. It’s a big problem. Although we have a problem in Alabama with uninsured drivers, these drivers are not as likely to flee the scene as those drivers who are impaired or already wanted by police.

Big Trucks. You may be surprised by this one. But, we’ve had multiple cases where commercial truck drivers simply keep driving after colliding with a car. Years ago, I represented some clients who were sideswiped on Interstate 65 near Athens by an eighteen wheeler that never stopped. Fortunately, another driver witnessed the crash, followed the eighteen wheeler for several miles, and eventually forced him to stop. In another case, an eighteen wheeler struck a car on North Memorial Parkway and kept driving. But, several witnesses were able to identify the company because of the huge logo on the truck. In both cases, the truck drivers initially claimed they never hit anyone. Then, when confronted with the evidence, they claimed not to have realized the situation. In both cases, I believe these truck drivers really fled the scene because they feared being fired for a car accident.

What Can Be Done To Identify The At-Fault Driver?

In the first few moments after a crash, you may be dazed. Then, your thoughts turn to questions of injury. Am I OK? Is everyone else OK? Then you may start worrying about your car. In a hit-and-run case, you then have to ask — Will police find the negligent driver?

You may be dazed right after the crash. If you can gather evidence quickly at the scene, it can be crucial to identifying the hit-and-run driver. If able, write down the contact information for any witnesses as well as any observations related to the make, model or color of the fleeing vehicle. Better yet, take a quick photo with your cellphone. Then, look around to see if you can identify any area cameras. This information may be crucial in helping the police find or identify the hit-and-run driver.

In many cases, time is an issue. I’ve had numerous cases where police quickly canvassed the area and found the hit-and-run driver. Any information you can recall or provide can make the difference.

Technology may also be very valuable in identifying the fleeing driver. In recent years, we’ve found video surveillance in many of our accident and injury cases. We’ve located video in many of our car accident cases throughout Huntsville. Many businesses and homes now have surveillance cameras that show the roadway. In addition, local authorities may have traffic cameras in some areas.

Social media is also a very powerful tool. People frequently share photographs and other information on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others. In some local communities, neighbors regularly post information regarding suspicious or dangerous drivers. Often, an accident post on Facebook will gather numerous comments from people who saw all or part of the events.

In really serious cases, police may be able to use other technology to identify debris or paint from the crashed vehicles. We’ve also had a couple cases where we located suspected vehicles at body shops after a crash.

How Will I Be Compensated For My Injuries?

Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, a hit-and-run driver may never be identified. How can you obtain compensation for your injuries if the fleeing driver is not identified? Will I still be compensated?

This is a great question. Yes, you can still receive compensation if you have uninsured / underinsured coverage on your automobile policy. This coverage is very important in Alabama.

I mentioned this fact earlier — Alabama has a problem with uninsured drivers. While our laws require every driver to carry liability coverage, many choose not to do so. On any given day, drivers around you may be operating without insurance to cover injuries from their negligence.

Even when drivers carry liability coverage, they may still only carry the minimum required limits. That amount is currently $25,000.00. Think about that for a moment — One emergency room visit and you might see medical bills consume most of that coverage. Any significant injury could easily cost more than $25,000.00. When you consider both the uninsured and underinsured drivers on Alabama roadways, it is crucial that you have adequate coverage for a serious injury. In Alabama, uninsured / underinsured coverage can compensate you for damages beyond the at-fault driver’s limited (or none) coverage. That includes damages caused by a hit-and-run driver who is never identified. This coverage is so very important to you and your loved ones.

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The Blackwell Law Firm focuses exclusively on helping people with serious personal injury cases. We believe injured people deserve a lawyer who will work to obtain the maximum compensation for their injuries and damages. If you have questions about a car accident or other personal injury issue, let us know. We are happy to discuss your case.