Tennessee, like most states, requires drivers to stay on the scene of a crash until police arrive and they can file an accident report. A driver leaving the scene of the accident makes it impossible to exchange insurance information or for police to issue citations without first identifying the hit-and-run driver. This law, however, is not always effective at keeping at-fault drivers at the scene of a Knoxville car accident.
If you suffered injuries in a Knoxville, TN hit-and-run crash and do not know the identity of the at-fault driver, a car accident lawyer can help you determine your legal options for compensation. At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, our Knoxville hit-and-run accident and injury lawyers understand the frustration with this type of car accident. Call our office today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation and learn how you can file for the compensation you deserve.
What role does negligence play in a Knoxville hit-and-run crash?
As a condition of receiving driving privileges in Tennessee, you agree to obey the rules of the road. You also agree to drive in a reasonable manner and not act carelessly behind the wheel. If you do break a law or take another careless action that causes an accident, you are liable for the injuries and property damage you cause.
Leaving the scene of an accident is breaking a Tennessee traffic law, but just because a driver leaves the scene of a crash does not mean they are negligent and therefore responsible for your damages. Car accident victims sometimes run from the scene of a crash, as well.
To get compensation for your damages after a hit-and-run accident, you need to show the other driver acted in an unreasonable manner before the accident and this led to the collision and your injuries. Without evidence to support your claim that another party acted negligently, you cannot collect compensation for your accident-related losses. This is true even if the at-fault driver is never identified.
Why would someone leave the scene of a Knoxville car accident?
There are a number of reasons why someone might leave the scene of a car crash. In some cases, they are simply scared of the consequences of causing a car accident. Often, drivers are making an attempt to avoid more serious consequences arising from a variety of situations, such as:
- They may be drunk or impaired;
- They have illegal drugs or other items in the car;
- They do not have a license and/or insurance coverage; or
- There is a warrant for their arrest.
In most crashes, you may never know exactly why the driver left the scene. This can be especially upsetting for pedestrians, cyclists, and others who sustained severe injuries and suffered in pain without being able to call for help after the crash.
How can I get compensation if the at-fault driver leaves the scene of a crash in Knoxville?
Police attempt to identify drivers who leave the scene of an injury accident and are often able to locate them. This allows you to file a third-party liability claim with their insurance company. Even if you cannot remember their license plate or a clear description of the vehicle, an eyewitness may know more. Police will interview the available witnesses and we may be able to identify and talk to additional eyewitnesses during our investigation.
Even when the at-fault driver’s identity remains a mystery, there is often recourse for Knoxville area hit-and-run victims. Tennessee law requires all auto insurance policies to include uninsured motorist coverage unless the policyholder explicitly rejects this type of coverage. An uninsured motorist policy covers the losses associated with a hit-and-run. The limits of this policy are typically equal to the limits on your liability coverage, meaning you may be able to file for compensation to cover your medical care and lost wages.
We can analyze your case and your car insurance policy and determine if this is the best way to recover compensation. We can then file a claim, send a demand letter to your insurer, and hopefully negotiate a settlement.
What type of damages can I collect after a Knoxville hit-and-run?
You can collect the same types of damages in a hit-and-run accident regardless of whether you identify the driver and file a third-party liability claim or you file a claim based on your uninsured motorist policy. This includes both economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are what most people think of as accident-related losses. This includes medical bills, rehabilitation costs, physical therapy, current lost wages, decrease in future earning capacity, repair or replacement of your car, ongoing care costs, and almost any other financial damages stemming from the crash.
Noneconomic damages are sometimes called “pain and suffering.” These damages should help compensate you for your emotional and mental suffering following the collision. In addition to pain and suffering, these damages may include mental anguish and money for disfigurement or disability.
If the police are able to identify the driver, you may also receive punitive damages in some cases. The court awards these damages when the hit-and-run driver acted maliciously, causing injuries on purpose or while being especially reckless.
How can a Knoxville, TN hit-and-run accident and injury lawyer help me recover compensation?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to your family’s financial health that you are able to recover the compensation you deserve. This is especially true if you suffered serious injuries or have a loved one who requires ongoing care due to their accident injuries. Almost all accident victims have an option to recover compensation after a hit-and-run.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we will investigate your case, analyze your insurance policy, and identify the best way to get you the money you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more. Let us go to work on your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Call 865-546-1111 today to schedule a time to meet with one of our Knoxville, TN hit-and-run accident and injury attorneys. We handle car accidents on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no legal fees unless we win compensation from your claim.