Motor vehicle accidents are frightening experiences made even worse when the other involved driver fails to stop. Victims left with property damage and injuries are also left with the devastating effects of this lack of humanity and a complicated road to accessing much-needed compensation.
Fortunately, Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, & Montesi PLC has helped North Memphis hit-and-run victims sort through the chaos and get the financial relief they deserve. You can count on a personal injury lawyer in North Memphis from our firm to help you do the same.
Tennessee Motor Vehicle Accident Laws
Tennessee Code 55-10-101 makes it illegal for any driver involved in a motor accident to leave the scene of the accident, stating that “the driver of any vehicle resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible.” Involved drivers must take care to cause as little disruption to traffic as possible.
The law applies to highways and local roads as well as parking lots or other areas the public at large regularly visits and also applies to accidents where there are no apparent injuries.
Other Requirements When Involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents
After stopping, Tennessee requires parties involved in motor vehicle accidents to fulfill additional requirements. Parties involved must exchange:
- Identifying and contact information
- Vehicle registration numbers
- Driver’s license information if the other party requests it
Drivers must, if they are able, provide reasonable assistance to injured parties, and call for emergency help if it is obvious that treatment is required or the injured party requests emergency attention. Finally, involved parties must call the police to make an official accident report.
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Legal Penalties for Hit-and-Run
There is a range of legal consequences for leaving the scene of an accident:
- License suspension for the hit-and-run violation
- A Class B misdemeanor charge for property damage under $500.00
- A Class A misdemeanor charge for property damage over $500.00
- If a person is injured, jail time of up to a year and fines of up to $2,500.00
- A Class E felony charge if the victim dies and the violator should have reasonably known a victim was killed in the accident.
This charge can bring a sentence of eight to thirty years in prison.
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Other Consequences for Failing to Stop
Even if you are not the person at fault for the accident or you do not think your vehicle or your body has sustained any damage, you can face consequences if you fail to stop and carry out Tennessee’s accident requirements.
Sometimes, physical injuries have a delayed onset or are disguised by rushes of adrenaline or shock. Even minor accidents can leave involved parties startled. Similarly, you may also not immediately recognize the actual damage to your property and only discover needed repairs upon closer inspection or when attempting specific maneuvers.
You still need to call authorities to the scene and file a report even if you are not at fault for the incident and the other party flees. If you do not file a report, any later claim you may later need to make to cover your potential injuries or property damage will be much harder to prove. If you caused the accident and the other party flees, you still need to file a police report to protect yourself from a hit and run violation should the other party later decide to report the incident.
When the Other Driver Is Not Present
Tennessee also requires drivers who hit parked vehicles to leave their contact information as well as the time, date, and location of the accident in a place readily visible to the car’s owner, such as under the windshield wiper. As with other accidents, drivers should file a report with the police.
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How a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in North Memphis Can Help
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, contact a North Memphis hit-and-run lawyer from GKBM as soon as possible following the incident. GKBM has decades of experience representing hit-and-run victims and is well-prepared to deal with the unique complications posed by these cases.
Collecting evidence after a hit-and-run is challenging, but your hit-and-run accident attorney in North Memphis knows what to look for and how to track down potential evidence. For example, your attorney may acquire traffic or security camera footage to identify the perpetrator or have investigators speak to likely witnesses, such as shopkeepers, neighbors, or bystanders whose statements were included in the police report.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
If the perpetrator is caught, your attorney will handle all communication with that party’s insurance representatives. Because Tennessee operates under a shared fault system, if you hold some fault for the accident, the total settlement amount you can receive will be reduced in proportion to your level of responsibility. While the perpetrator can still face criminal charges for the hit and run, the amount of compensation you receive from your personal injury claim can be affected by these shared fault laws.
If the perpetrator is not caught, you will have to rely on your own insurance to cover your losses. Even though your insurance is supposed to protect you and you have paid for this protection, the company’s priority is their financial bottom line, not your well-being. Therefore, they will look for loopholes in your policy, manipulate your policy’s language, or seek ways to blame you for the accident to avoid making a large payout.
Taking on insurance companies is frustrating, time-consuming, and risky for those without a legal background. It is easy for victims to be intimidated or pressured into accepting outcomes that are unfair and do not meet their needs. A skilled, knowledgeable North Memphis hit-and-run accident lawyer will save you this time and stress and ensure your fair treatment.
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When a hit-and-run driver leaves the scene of the accident and leaves you feeling stranded, contact an experienced North Memphis hit-and-run attorney from GKBM. Do not wait until you have been denied benefits for your medical costs, lost wages, or other damages.Stay ahead by going to our contact page to schedule a free consultation.
Your attorney will work for your interests from day one and will stand by your side until your case is complete.