Birmingham Hit and Run Car Accident Lawyers
Skilled Attorneys Fighting for Your Rights
Fatal hit and run accidents are on the rise throughout the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of hit and run accidents is continuing to increase significantly. In 2009 the number of hit and run fatalities was 1,274. This rose to 1,393 in 2010 and again to 1,449 in 2011 (these are the most recent available statistics).
Just like every state throughout the U.S., Alabama has strict laws pertaining to hit and run accidents. A hit and run accident is defined as one in which a vehicle driver is involved in an accident with a pedestrian, another vehicle or a fixed object, and the driver flees the scene without identifying him or herself or assisting anyone other party who may need help. This is a serious criminal offense whether the driver caused the accident or not.
Here at the Guster Law Firm, LLC, our legal team has years of experience with hit and run cases, with proven results. Contact our Birmingham hit and run car accident lawyers at (205) 386-6844 for a free consultation.
Penalties for Hit and Run in Alabama
In the Yellowhammer State, there are different penalties for hit and run crimes, depending on the nature of the car accident:
- Penalty for injury: This is a class C felony. The penalty is imprisonment for a minimum of 1 year and 1 day and a maximum of 10 years. There is also a possible fine of up to $15,000.
- Penalty for death: This is a class C felony. The penalty is imprisonment for a minimum of 1 year and 1 day and a maximum of 10 years. There is also a possible fine of up to $15,000.
- Penalty for damage to a vehicle either driven or attended by a person: This is a class A misdemeanor. The penalty is imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year. There is also a possible fine of up to $6,000.
- Penalty for striking an unattended vehicle: This is a class A misdemeanor. The penalty is imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year. There is also a possible fine of up to $6,000.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Scene of an Accident?
The American Bar Association list a number of reasons why a driver may hit and run:
- He/she is intoxicated.
- He/she is uninsured.
- He/she has no license or a suspended license.
- The car is stolen.
- He/she has outstanding tickets.
- He/she is transporting illegal items.
- He/she is in the country illegally.
- He/she is driving a company car and does not want the employer to find out.
Steps to Filing a Claim After a Hit and Run Accident
Being in a car accident is a scary situation to find yourself in, regardless of the circumstances that may surround it. In the immediate aftermath, it might be difficult knowing what to do next. This is especially true in the case of a hit and run. Although it’s never legal to leave the scene of an accident, that doesn’t stop drivers from doing it quite often. Victims suffer serious injuries every day from hit and run accidents, whether they were in another vehicle, on a bike, or walking across the street, and are left at the scene wondering what steps to take and how they’re ever going to be compensated for the damages that were done.
We can help you answer those questions and more at Guster Law Firm, LLC. Our Alabama personal injury lawyers will guide you through the appropriate steps to take in filing a claim after a hit and run accident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Your top priority after a hit and run should be to seek medical attention for your injuries. Even if you don’t appear to be seriously injured right away, it’s best to get checked out because internal injuries can develop without you knowing for a while. In addition, getting a medical report will be an essential part of your claim.
2. File a Police Report
Reporting the accident to the police should be the next step you take. Having an official police report will be valuable should you decide to pursue restitution. Give them an accurate explanation of what happened and anything you are able to recall about the other party.
3. Write Down Everything You Can Remember
The sooner you can write down everything that happened, the better. While it’s fresh in your mind, it’s important to note any distinguishing characteristics you were able to see of the driver and their vehicle. Getting their license plate number as they drive away would be the most significant detail to take down. Details of the scene, the road and weather conditions, and what exactly occurred are also vital pieces of information.
4. Take Photos
Photos are important evidence in a hit and run case. They serve to document several different aspects, including the scene of the accident, the damage to your personal property, and the injuries sustained to your body. Take photos of all these elements as soon as you are able to.
5. Get Witness Statements
If there were any witnesses that can verify what happened when the incident took place, it’s crucial to get their statement. It’s best to get their account and contact information at the scene whenever possible. This will play a large part in helping to establish the fault of the other driver.
6. Hire an Attorney
Seeking legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer can make a significant difference in whether or not you are able to receive the payout you deserve for your injuries and property damage. They will know the proper procedure for filing a claim after a hit and run accident and will conduct their own investigation to try and find the driver that hit you.
Compensation for Hit & Run Accident Victims in Birmingham
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a hit and run accident, you may be overwhelmed by medical bills, rehabilitation fees and lost income. Unfortunately, the insurance company may be reluctant to cover all your expenses. An experienced Birmingham car accident lawyer will deal with the insurance company for you so that you can focus on recovering from your ordeal. You may be able to claim expenses for:
- Medical expenses
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
Identifying the Driver
You may feel that you would be unable to identify the driver or the car, but do not worry. We can help you find possible witnesses who can help lead to an arrest. If you or a family member have been involved in a hit and run accident that has caused injury or damage, you will need to speak to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. How you respond to the accident during the weeks after the collision may affect the amount of compensation you are awarded. Bear this in mind when you are choosing a lawyer.
Recovering damages in a hit and run case can prove to be a real challenge, but the Alabama hit and run injury lawyers at Guster Law Firm, LLC have all the resources and skills needed to get the job done. We will assess your case for free during an initial consultation before determining how to proceed. Should we decide to move forward, we will help you navigate the complicated process of filing your hit and run claim.
Call us today at (205) 386-6844 to discover your legal options.