How to Obtain Compensation in Hit-and-Run Car Accidents in Tennessee?
Sometimes, drivers who cause auto accidents decide to flee the scene of the crash. Collisions in which at-fault drivers flee the scene are classified as “hit-and-run” crashes. If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is vital to consult with an experienced Nashville car accident lawyer in Nashville to get the compensation you deserve.
Hit-and-Run Crash in Nashville, Tennessee
A bicyclist was recently injured in a hit-and-run collision in West Nashville. As reported by WKRN, the victim was critically injured on Charlotte Avenue near 28th Avenue North.
The bicyclist was hit by a red vehicle. Following the bicycle crash, the driver of the vehicle stopped and allowed the injured bicyclist to get in his car. However, after driving to an alley off 35th Avenue North, the driver pulled the cyclist from the vehicle for an unknown reason. The motorist left the bicyclist on the side of the road and fled the scene.
Later that same day, Metro police found the suspected red car with a broken windshield covered in blood. The driver admitted to being involved in the hit-and-run crash.
Compensation in Hit-and-Run Accidents in Tennessee
In auto accidents involving two or more parties who remained at the scene and exchanged their insurance information, seeking compensation is a straightforward process. Often, all you need is file a claim with the appropriate insurance company.
However, obtaining compensation after a vehicle crash in which another driver fled the scene can be complicated. In most hit-and-run accidents, it is not possible to determine the identity of the driver who drove away from the scene. In auto accidents involving a driver who fled the scene, liability depends on whether the at-fault party can be identified and found.
What if the Driver is Identified and Found?
Only about a quarter of all hit-and-run accident cases are solved. If the driver who fled the scene is found, he or she could be held liable for the accident. However, since Tennessee follows a modified comparative negligence system, you could be held partially liable for your injury in a hit-and-run accident if the other party can prove that you contributed to the accident.
While the identified hit-and-run motorist will most likely face criminal penalties for fleeing the scene of the crash, you may also be entitled to recover punitive damages. Although punitive damages are not available in all car accident cases, victims of hit-and-run collisions are usually eligible to seek punitive damages.
What if the Driver Cannot Be Identified and Found?
In the vast majority of hit-and-run collisions, the at-fault driver is never identified and found. This is frustrating not only because you will not be able to seek justice but also because you could have a hard time seeking compensation for your damages and losses.
In Tennessee, victims of hit-and-run accidents are more fortunate than those in other states because many Tennesseeans who carry auto insurance also have the uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) policy. This is the only policy that allows you to recover damages following a hit-and-run accident. In Tennessee, policyholders can waive their UM/UIM coverage in writing.
Thus, if you were injured in a hit-and-run crash, you will need to make a claim with your own insurance company unless you are not insured. Following a hit-and-run accident in Nashville, you will need to file a claim under the UM or UIM policy to obtain compensation when the at-fault motorist cannot be found.
Talk to our car accident attorneys in Nashville if you or your loved one was involved in a hit-and-run collision. Contact our lawyer at Calhoun Law, PLC, to get a case review. Call at 615-375-4773.