A hit-and-run accident can leave you feeling angry after the driver who struck your vehicle ran away. Your anger grows as you pay huge medical bills to treat your injuries and major vehicle repair costs that you would not have paid had it not been for the accident. Who will reimburse you for your damages if you do not know who hit you? How do you get justice?
Fortunately, at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we specialize in helping people recover compensation from a hit-and-run accident. Call us today 865-546-1111 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a hit-and-run accident lawyer in Knoxville. Find out how we can help.
How Can I Recover Compensation After a Hit-And-Run Accident?
We can help you recover compensation by filing an insurance claim with your insurance company if your auto policy includes Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. Tennessee requires auto insurers to offer UM insurance to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering when a driver who causes an accident does not have auto insurance. Your UM insurance covers you in hit-and-run accidents.
We handle all aspects of an insurance claim—from gathering evidence to support your claim to negotiating settlements with the insurance company. Auto insurers typically offer low payouts, delay the settlement process, or deny claims altogether. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurance companies. We know the strategies they use to save money. We aggressively challenge their low payout offers to get our clients the maximum compensation available.
What Type of Evidence Do You Gather in a Hit-And-Run Accident?
We conduct our own investigation into the accident. After speaking with you, we gather such information as:
- The date, time, and location of the accident;
- The make, model, and color of the vehicle that hit you;
- A description of the driver and any passengers, if possible;
- The license plate number of the vehicle that hit you, if possible;
- Police reports;
- Photos of damages to your vehicle;
- Photos or descriptions of damages to the other vehicle; and
- Statements from passengers in your vehicle and any other eyewitnesses to the crash.
If you took down any information immediately after your crash, we can use it to bolster our case. These details come in handy when filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
To recover compensation for your injuries, we must first prove negligence on the part of the hit-and-run driver. To do this, we must provide evidence of four key aspects of the law:
- The driver owed you a duty to drive carefully;
- The driver breached that duty;
- That breach of duty caused an accident and your injuries; and
- As a result, you suffered damages from the accident.
We will keep these points in mind as we collect the evidence we need to prove your claim. After we gather proof to show how the hit-and-run driver caused your wreck, we will use your medical records and receipts to show the damages you suffered because of the crash. We can also consult your employment records to prove your lost wages, while an occupational expert can testify to the long-term impact your injuries will have on your career. We can also seek damages for the pain and suffering you endured because of the crash.
Will This Information Help in Finding the Hit-And-Run Driver?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that we will find the hit-and-run driver. However, our skillful attorneys can use this information and other resources to possibly identify the driver. We may follow leads from traffic camera video or listen to 911 calls that may provide information about the accident. We can also access local or state police reports, which may identify eyewitnesses who can describe the hit-and-run vehicle, its driver, and its license plate number.
Why Do Drivers Leave the Scene of an Accident?
Drivers flee the scene of an accident for various reasons. They might leave due to:
- Driving without a valid driver’s license;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Driving without a valid vehicle registration; or
- Driving without the vehicle owner’s permission or driving a stolen car.
Sometimes, drivers want to avoid accumulating more points on their driving record because they face a driver’s license suspension with one more accident. Generally, drivers who flee an accident scene have something to hide and do not want police to find out about it. Apparently, they do not realize that fleeing an accident scene gets them into even more trouble.
After a Crash, All Motorists Must Remain at the Scene.
The consequences are severe for motorists who flee the scene of a crash. Tennessee state law requires drivers involved in accidents resulting in bodily injury, property damage, or death to remain at the scene of the accident and provide reasonable assistance to injured drivers and passengers by calling police.
Penalties for fleeing an accident scene vary. For instance, in accidents involving injury or death, hit-and-run drivers face a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. Any driver fleeing the scene who knew or should reasonably have known that death resulted from the accident faces a Class E felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a $3,000 fine.
Tennessee Requires Drivers to File an Accident Report.
In automobile accidents involving death, injury, or property damage over $400, Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Law requires drivers and vehicle owners to file an accident report with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security within 20 days of the crash. Failure to file the accident report may result in suspension of an individual’s driver’s license and registration or suspension of driving privileges of nonresidents involved in the crash.
Despite These Measures, Hit-And-Run Accidents Still Happen. We can help.
You may feel helpless after a hit-and-run accident because the person who caused your troubles ran away and refuses to take responsibility for what happened. At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we understand how you feel and offer you hope for recovering compensation for your damages.
Contact us at 865-546-1111 to set up a free, initial case evaluation. We can help you get back on track after your hit-and-run accident.