Under Alabama’s rules of the road, you must always stay at the scene of an accident. If you violate this rule, you may face criminal charges. However, that’s little consolation to the victims of a hit and run crash – especially if someone was seriously injured. That’s where Petro Law Firm steps in. We help crash victims get the compensation they deserve and fight to hold reckless drivers responsible for their behavior. To learn more about Alabama hit and run law, keep reading. For a free case evaluation, contact our office today.
What Does Alabama Hit and Run Law Say?
When you get a driver’s license, you are agreeing to follow Alabama’s road rules. One of these essential rules is contained in Alabama Code §32-10-2, which requires every driver to:
- Stop at the scene of an accident if there is any property damage, bodily harm, or a fatality
- Call 911 and request medical assistance for injured crash victims
- Provide the authorities with their correct name, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license
When someone violates this rule, we call it a hit and run. If convicted, the offender may face jail time, fines, penalties, and loss of their driver’s license.
Additionally, the victims are typically eligible for compensation for their injuries and property damage.
What Should I Do if I’m Involved in a Hit and Run?
First, you should never leave the scene of an accident, no matter the circumstances. If you do so, you may face a wide variety of criminal and civil penalties. Instead, it is in your best interest to call 911, cooperate with the police investigation, and request emergency medical care.
If you are hit by another driver and they flee the scene, you should call 911 immediately. Also, do your best to identify the driver and vehicle. Even a description of the vehicle and a partial license plate number can go a long way in holding the reckless driver accountable for their conduct.
Second, you should always get medical care for your injuries, no matter how minor they seem. After a crash, especially one with a hit and run driver, your adrenaline is running high. It’s easy to ignore or underestimate your injuries when your body is pumping with these “fight or flight” chemicals. However, what may seem like a minor injury may actually be early signs of a life-threatening or catastrophic condition. To protect yourself, always get checked out by a doctor.
Finally, call an experienced hit and run lawyer in Alabama. Depending on your circumstances, you may have a series of complex legal claims against the at-fault driver and your own insurance policies.
Will My Insurance Company Cover a Hit and Run?
Alabama has a fault-based auto insurance system. That means that accident victims typically file a claim with a negligent driver’s insurance company rather than their own. But what happens when you don’t know the identity of the at-fault driver? The answer may vary, depending on your personal insurance policies.
Unfortunately, if you only have minimum coverage in Alabama, you may discover that you cannot get the compensation you deserve. That’s why we encourage everyone to get as much auto insurance coverage as they can reasonably afford. Optional policies, like uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) and med pay coverage, can go a long way towards alleviating your financial distress. UM/UIM policies step in when the other driver does not have enough coverage or you cannot identify the driver. Med pay will pay your medical bills regardless of who caused the crash.
Can My Lawyer Hunt Down a Hit and Run Driver?
Sometimes, the team at Petro Law Firm’s investigation can identify the negligent driver’s identity. We frequently work with law enforcement authorities in their search for hit and run drivers. Together, we will look for evidence that can uncover the identity of the at-fault driver. For example, we may be able to interview witnesses and collect surveillance footage from nearby businesses to compile evidence that, when put together, helps us name the driver.
If we successfully identify the reckless driver, we will file any possible claims with their insurance carrier and aggressively pursue all possible damages, including punitive damages.
A Prosecutor Is Pursuing a Criminal Case Against the Hit and Run Driver. Am I All Set?
No. Criminal charges and a personal injury claim are very different legal processes. The government prosecutor will only handle the criminal case and will not fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
However, you shouldn’t postpone your injury case while the prosecutor works on their case. In Alabama, you only have two years to file a personal injury claim against a hit and run driver—and it may take longer than that to fully investigate and try the criminal case. To protect your rights, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Learn More About Alabama Hit and Run Law
If you have questions about a hit and run injury claim and Alabama hit and run law, contact Petro Law Firm today. Our team of experienced and aggressive legal professionals will help you build a plan that protects your legal rights and financial interests.