Being in a car accident is bad enough, but being in a wreck with someone who runs away can be even worse. A person leaving you behind after hitting you is not only cowardly, it is illegal. When this happens to you, you might feel like the world is against you.
If you have been the victim of a driver who left the scene of the crash in South Memphis, you need the assistance of a highly skilled and professional South Memphis personal injury lawyer. For help with your hit-and-run accident case, contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi for a free consultation and case review.
Hit-and-Run Accident Statistics
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in the last year that data was collected, there were 737,100 hit-and-run accidents in the United States. That means that there was one hit-and-run accident every 43 seconds. Over 2,000 people died as a result of these kinds of crashes.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Shelby County has more accidents than any other county in Tennessee. Hit-and-run accidents are far more common here than anywhere else in the state. If you are one of the thousands of people who are victimized in this type of crash, a professional South Memphis hit-and-run accident lawyer can work to help you get compensation.
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What Kind of Compensation Is Available in Hit-and-Run Accident Cases?
When you file a lawsuit to recover damages in a hit-and-run accident case, there are three categories of damages for which you can receive compensation. These damages are sorted by their purposes: to reimburse, to compensate, and to punish.
Economic (Special) Damages
Economic, or special damages, are a type of damages that are intended to pay you back for money that you had to pay because of the hit-and-run accident. For example, if you were injured in the accident, and were forced to seek medical treatment, then the medical bills that you paid can be recovered against the defendant as damages.
Other types of economic damages are lost wages for the work that you miss because of your injuries or even for the remainder of your career if your injuries are debilitating. You can also seek repayment for the costs of medical assistive devices, such as a wheelchair or crutches, or even the cost of home care services, such as home health nurses.
Under Tennessee law, there is no cap on the amount of economic damages that you can recover. You can recover the full amount of economic damages you have suffered with sufficient evidence demonstrating that you incurred them as a result of the accident.
Non-Economic (General) Damages
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for the effect your injuries had on your quality of life rather than reimburse you for your bills. These damages will be awarded by the jury in your case and are meant to award you money to “make you whole” or give you money to make up for the fact that you are injured.
For example, if you will suffer from pain for the remainder of your life, the jury may award you damages for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of your life. The amount of these damages is highly subjective and almost completely within the discretion of the jury. Your hit-and-run accident attorney in South Memphis can advise you on what to expect from your specific case.
In Tennessee, there is a hard limit on non-economic damages that you can receive. There are two different limits that might apply, and these are based on the seriousness of your injuries. If you suffer a catastrophic injury, such as the loss of a limb, you can receive up to $1,000,000.00, whereas if you suffer any other type of injury, you can receive no more than $750,000.00.
Punitive damages are additional damages that only serve to punish the defendant. For you to receive punitive damages, you must prove that the defendant’s conduct was intentional or grossly negligent, such as drinking while driving.
Like non-economic damages, whether to award punitive damages and in what amount is almost entirely up to the jury in your case. The judge will only get involved if the jury awards punitive damages for no reason or if the amount of punitive damages that they award is heavily excessive compared to the other damages that they awarded.
Under Tennessee state law, the amount of punitive damages that you can receive is hard-capped in much the same way that non-economic damages are. The most that you can receive in punitive damages is $500,000.00, or two times the total amount of damages (economic plus non-economic) that you receive, whichever is more.
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What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The statute of limitations is a time limit that stops you from bringing a lawsuit after a certain amount of time has passed. The time limit imposed by the statute of limitations begins running from the date that you are aware of your injuries.
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit seeking damages for personal injury is one year. This means that your lawsuit must be filed within one year of you becoming aware of your injuries.
Because the process of collecting, analyzing, and presenting evidence is often time-consuming, twelve months is not a lot of time. The sooner you contact GKBM, the faster we can begin to manage your case and prepare everything for trial.
It is important that you do not waste valuable days and weeks. You should speak with a qualified hit-and-run accident lawyer in South Memphis as soon as possible after your accident.
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If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled South Memphis hit-and-run accident attorney who will fight for your interests. Contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi for a free consultation and case review.