Can You File a Claim After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Posted in Car accidents on March 14, 2019
Getting into a car accident is bad enough without the at-fault driver fleeing the scene to escape accountability. It is against the law in Tennessee to leave the scene of an accident before fulfilling one’s duties to the victims. These duties involve calling for help if someone has injuries and exchanging contact information. Unfortunately, some negligent and reckless drivers will take off after hitting a vehicle or pedestrian in the hopes of avoiding liability.
You may worry that you have no rights as the victim of a hit-and-run accident. After all, the at-fault party is not available to take responsibility or pay your damages. Luckily, Tennessee civil laws have provisions for hit-and-run accidents. You may be able to obtain a settlement through your own insurance company. Otherwise, a third party (not the at-fault driver) could share liability for your accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance
It is mandatory for all drivers in Tennessee to carry at least $25,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance per injury, $50,000 in PIP per accident, and $15,000 in property damage insurance. Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance is an optional, additional type of coverage that could protect you after a collision with someone who does not have enough insurance. If you have this type of insurance, it could pay for your damages after a hit-and-run accident.
Tennessee is a fault-based insurance state. Victims of car accidents will seek initial coverage for damages through the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the at-fault party is unavailable, as in a hit-and-run accident, victims may seek restitution through their own insurers instead. UM or UIM insurance would pay for your damages just as it would in an accident where the at-fault driver remains on the scene but does not have adequate insurance. Your insurance company would reimburse your related damages up to your policy’s maximum amount.
Third-Party Claims for Hit-and-Run Accidents
If you suffered catastrophic injuries, the wrongful death of a loved one, or if you do not possess UM/UIM insurance, an accident lawsuit may be a better option than a claim with your own insurance company. A claim can result in a higher payout than an insurance claim alone. The at-fault driver will be your first choice of defendant, since he or she is the one that crashed into you. If police cannot find a hit-and-run driver, however, you could have other options for defendants.
- An auto or auto part manufacturer
- A property owner
- The city for an unsafe roadway
An investigation of your auto accident could identify parties you did not realize played a role in causing your injuries. For example, the city could be partially at fault for designing an unsafe crosswalk – contributing to the hit-and-run driver striking you as you tried to cross the road. In this scenario, you may have the right to file an injury claim with the city of Nashville. Working with an attorney can help you identify all potential parties involved in your hit-and-run accident claim as well as explore available outlets for recovery.
How to Recover From a Hit-and-Run Accident
After a hit-and-run accident, stay calm and review your rights with a local injury lawyer. Just because the at-fault driver fled the scene does not mean you surrender all rights to a claim. You may have other legal options available to you, such as filing a claim against a third party.
A hit-and-run accident lawyer can review your case, identify any possible defendants, and help you file your injury claim within the state’s deadline. An attorney can also take care of insurance claim negotiations on your behalf, making sure your insurance company does not take advantage of you. Protecting your rights with a lawyer can help ensure a fair resolution to your case.