Hit and Run Injury Law In Alabama
Hit and run accidents are very common in Alabama. The most serious, direct consequence to the injured victims is that they are left without any compensation (assuming the at-fault driver cannot be located). However, Alabama law does provide a opportunity for victims to be compensated so long as several things are proven.
- Step One: You can make a claim on your own auto insurance for the injuries and property damage. Alabama law requires all vehicles to be covered by uninsured coverage. (This coverage can only be rejected by a written declaration from the insured driver). So, if driver A hits Driver B and then flees the scene, Driver B can file a claim with his car insurance for all the resulting damages. Generally speaking, it’s best to hire a Birmingham car accident lawyer who can guide you through the process of notifying your insurance carrier (see step 4).
- Step Two: Alabama law and most insurance companies require corroboration of the accident facts to avoid fraudulent claims. It is a fairly simple matter to intentionally strike a tree and then claim a hit and run driver caused you to run off the road. Insurance companies are not required to simply accept the word of a driver about what happened. Corroborating evidence from other sources is usually needed in hit and run injury claims. This can be in the form of independent witnesses, property damage evidence, electronic control module (blackbox) recordings from the car, etc.
- Step Three: Physical injuries can not be claimed unless they are proven by competent medical evidence, whether a hit and run crash or just a garden variety rear-ender collision. If you sustained a herniated disc from the wreck, your auto coverage carrier will not have to pay for the back surgery unless the diagnosing and treating physician states that the herniation was caused by the crash. Stated differently, this is another corroboration requirement imposed by Alabama law and the insurance industry. Insurance companies are not required to take your word, rather the doctor must support your claim before compensation can be had.
- Step Four: The claim must be made with a “reasonable” time after the accident. All insurance carriers require notice of a claim within a reasonable time after the incident. This is usually 6 months or so. The better practice is to send immediate notice via certified mail to your insurance carrier, even if you are uncertain of the extent of your injuries. Additionally, lawsuits for injuries, including hit and run crashes, must normally be made with 2 years of the accident.
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