Under Tennessee law, people involved in vehicle collisions have a duty to remain at the scene. Drivers must stop their car, investigate the scene, and call the police. If someone is injured in the car collision, then they should also provide reasonable assistance to the injured party.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the at-fault part may flee the scene of the accident. If this happens, it is important for the injured party to seek guidance from a Murfreesboro hit-and-run lawyer. A knowledgeable injury attorney could investigate the crash and help a claimant recover fair compensation for their injuries.
Why Do People Leave the Scene of an Accident?
One of the most common reasons a person may flee the scene of a crash is because something else they were doing at the time of the collision was illegal. For example, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
There are some scenarios where someone has a warrant out for their arrest and they think that because the police are going to come to the accident scene, they will be arrested so they flee. In other cases, the at-fault driver may panic and out of fear and leave the scene.
Unique Aspects of Hit-and-Runs
If the at-fault party is caught, a claimant could potentially recover punitive damages, which are designed to punish the responsible person. These damages are usually reserved for especially severe cases, so they are rare to recover. Often in hit-and-run cases, there is an emotional reaction by a jury if a local attorney explains the defendant fled the scene. This shock to the conscience of a jury could result in them wanting to punish the defendant for their egregious actions with an award of punitive damages.
If someone is not caught following a hit-and-run, a claimant will need to determine what insurance they need and what insurance is going to pay for the damages. Generally, they have to rely on their uninsured motorist coverage in order to make sure that they get their car fixed and receive adequate medical attention.
Can a Claimant Recover Damages When There Is No Defendant?
In a hit-and-run case, a plaintiff could potentially get three types of damages. The first type they could get is economic damages which include any out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. This could include lost wages, past and future medical bills, and costs for repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle.
There are also non-economic damages, or human damages. These include intangible losses such as pain and suffering, lost of enjoyment of life, and permanent disability or disfigurement. These damages are more difficult to quantify since they do not come with a set dollar amount.
As previously stated, punitive damages could potentially apply in these cases since it involves someone being especially reckless or careless. A Murfreesboro lawyer could help someone involved in a hit-and-run determine what damages are available in their unique case.
Benefits of a Murfreesboro Lawyer
Securing an experienced legal representative is highly beneficial for several reasons. Following a hit-and-run, a lawyer in Murfreesboro could try to track down the at-fault driver. An attorney may have resources that allow them to actually get the name of the defendant in a hit-and-run case, such as by searching a license plate number.
Another way that an attorney could help is by negotiating with insurance companies that may not want to fully compensate an injured claimant. Oftentimes, insurers make offers that seem great but actually are very de minimis, very low value offers because at a trial, a jury could award substantially more money. An attorney could make sure that a claimant is getting the full value of their case.
Contact a Murfreesboro Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney Now
If a defendant flees the vehicle wreck scene, it can make recovering compensation much more difficult. That is why it is imperative to seek guidance from a Murfreesboro hit-and-run accident lawyer. A well-practiced attorney could try to find the at-fault driver and work hard to ensure the claimant is properly compensated. If you were harmed in a hit-and-run, call today to schedule your initial consultation.