Memphis Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys
Under Tennessee law, drivers are not allowed to leave the scene of a car accident. If someone drives away, it’s considered a hit-and-run. If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, call the experienced attorneys from Gold Law Firm today.
Getting injured in a motor vehicle crash is overwhelming. The adverse effects spill out into every area of your life. You’re suffering from chronic pain, can’t perform the duties of your job, and don’t know how to pay your expensive medical bills. It’s a stressful time, and you need someone to help you.
At Gold Law Firm, we aim to relieve our clients’ burden. You don’t have to go through this alone. We’ll be by your side every step of the way to provide emotional support and legal advice. When you hire us, we’ll fight for your rights and seek the financial compensation you deserve. Call us today at (901) 244-5003.
Tennessee Laws Regarding Auto Accidents
If you’re in a collision that results in injury or death, it’s illegal to leave the scene. You must call the police to the crash site and provide specific documentation, such as your driver’s license and car insurance information. If you don’t notify law enforcement, you risk suspension of your license.
Some insurance carriers require you to report a car crash to local police, even if there are no injuries. If the collision resulted in physical harm, death, or property damage of $400 or more, you must file a report with the Tennessee Department of Safety within 20 days.
You also have to make sure all injured parties receive the medical treatment they need. That means making arrangements for them to seek a doctor or get to the hospital in an ambulance before driving away. Under circumstances where at least one person dies, it’s a felony to leave without doing any of the tasks above.
How Do I Collect Compensation if the Driver Fled?
If you sustain an injury from someone who drives off before you can get their information, call 911 immediately. An officer will investigate the scene and do their best to locate the other motorist. Don’t drive home or wait a day or two before calling the police. The collision site could hold crucial pieces of evidence, such as damaged parts from the other vehicle.
Additionally, you might forget exactly where the accident occurred if you wait. If that happens, the officer won’t know which businesses to go to for witnesses or to see if video surveillance caught the collision.
If the cops can’t find the driver who left the scene of the accident, you’re still able to recover compensation for your injury. Tennessee law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, which would provide coverage for your losses. What you might not know is there’s an additional coverage option called UM insurance.
UM stands for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You’re not legally required to carry this type of insurance, but all insurance companies must offer it to their policyholders. If you chose to add it to your policy, you could pursue compensation for your medical expenses if law enforcement can’t locate the hit-and-run driver.
What Happens if the Police Finds the Hit-and-Run Driver?
If the investigating officer can locate the other person involved in the accident, he or she could face criminal charges. Fleeing the scene of a crash is against the law in Tennessee. A hit-and-run doesn’t only involve an accident between motor vehicles. It could also include a pedestrian, bicyclist, parked car, or stationary property.
Depending on the circumstances, a prosecutor could charge the other driver with a felony or a misdemeanor for leaving the crash site. You could obtain their auto insurance information to file a claim or sue them directly for their careless actions.
If there was only damage to the vehicle, the driver would likely receive a minor misdemeanor charge. If you sustained severe injuries, the driver would probably face aggravated assault charges, which is a felony. In situations where the victim of a hit-and-run dies, the person who fled could get charged with felony vehicular homicide.
What Does the Insurance Claim Process Look Like?
Whether you file a claim with your insurance or the responsible driver’s insurance, you could seek compensation for your damages. Damages are losses suffered as a result of an accident or injury.
Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are actual expenses incurred, while non-economic damages include the suffering or physical pain endured. The different types of damages you could claim after a hit-and-run accident include:
- Medical bills: Medically necessary treatment to recover from your injuries, such as physical therapy, surgery, and home health care.
- Property damage: Repairs to your vehicle, including any personal property inside the car that the hit-and-run accident damaged.
- Loss of income: Pay you can’t earn because your injury doesn’t allow you to return to work.
- Emotional distress: Emotional trauma or pain suffered after the crash, such as stress or fear of driving a car again.
- Pain and suffering: Significant physical pain experienced directly from the injury that negatively impacts your daily lifestyle.
- Wrongful death: If a victim dies as a result of a hit-and-run, their immediate family could seek compensation for funeral costs and other related expenses.
After you file your claim, the assigned adjuster will perform their investigation. They might request the submission of forms and documents that prove your injury resulted from the crash. After reviewing all the evidence, they will either approve or deny your claim. If it gets approved, settlement negotiations will begin to determine how much money you deserve. If it gets denied, you could file a lawsuit.
If you decide to retain a lawyer, they will handle all of this for you. They will file a claim on your behalf, submit all necessary evidence, and negotiate an appropriate settlement. You’re more likely to receive the maximum compensation available with an experienced attorney than if you try to handle the case on your own.
How Much Money Could I Get if I Sue the Other Driver?
The amount of money you could receive in a lawsuit depends on various factors, such as:
- The severity of your injury
- Duration of treatment needed to recover
- Total costs incurred as a result of the hit-and-run
- Availability of sufficient evidence proving negligence on the part of the other person involved
Unlike compensatory damages, which reimburse you for your losses, punitive damages aim to punish the responsible party. Tennessee law places a cap on the number of punitive damages you could claim in a lawsuit. You’re allowed to receive a maximum of $500,000 or two times the total amount of your compensatory damages, whichever is higher.
A lawsuit is more complicated than filing an insurance claim. There’s much more participation required from the injured person. In an insurance claim, there are a lot of steps your attorney can handle on your behalf. However, in a lawsuit, there are instances where you’re required to show up no matter what.
After your lawyer files your lawsuit, there’s a period of “discovery.” During that time, both sides collect documentation to prove their claim. Your lawyer will look for evidence to show the driver fled the scene, and your injury resulted directly from the hit-and-run accident.
During the discovery process, you’ll have to sit through a deposition, where the opposing attorney will ask you questions regarding the crash, details of your life, and any other questions they believe will help them in the case.
At some point, a mediation would take place for both parties to try to agree on a settlement. If they don’t resolve the case, it will go to court where a jury or judge will decide if the at-fault driver should pay you a financial award.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run? Call Gold Law Firm Today
The Memphis car accident lawyers from Gold Law Firm are here to help you get the full and fair compensation you’re owed if you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence.
Lead attorney David Gold has over 20 years of experience fighting for victims of auto accidents. We understand the struggle of trying to heal while also pursuing legal action. We will take care of every aspect of your case for you to make the whole process easier. We’ll be sure to explain each step and answer all your questions, so you know what to expect next.
We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients. There’s no risk or obligation to speak with us. We’re happy to review the details of your hit-and-run and determine if we can move forward with your case. Call us at (901) 244-5003 if you suffered an injury in a hit-and-run accident.