According to a report by USA Today, the number of hit-and-run crashes has increased since 2009. Analysis of federal data reveals a 13 percent increase in hit-and-run accidents from 2009 to 2011. Millions of people are injured or killed in hit-and-run accidents each year. Another problem for drivers is the number of uninsured motorists on our roads. It is estimated that one in eight drivers do not have insurance. Tennessee had the sixth largest percentage of uninsured drivers as of 2012. About one in five drivers in our state did not have insurance.
It may seem odd to discuss hit-and-run accidents and uninsured motorists together; however, the two issues are closely related. Not every uninsured motorist accident claim is a hit-and-run collision, but almost all hit-and-run accident claims are filed as uninsured motorist claims.
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. The Knoxville auto accident lawyers of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC offer free consultations for accident victims. Call our office now to speak with an attorney.
Uninsured Motorists in Tennessee
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle in Tennessee without liability insurance coverage. State law requires that every driver carry minimum liability insurance coverage in the following amounts:
- Property damage coverage in the amount of $15,000
- Personal injury coverage in the amount of $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
- Personal injury coverage in the amount of $50,000 for all injuries or deaths
Failure to carry the minimum liability insurance coverage could result in fines and the loss of driving privileges. Liability insurance protects accident victims in the event of a traffic accident. The insurance company for the at-fault pays compensation to the accident victim for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and physical pain.
Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes deny valid accident claims. Our Knoxville car accident lawyer can help if an insurance company is refusing to pay your damages from a car accident.
Tennessee Hit-And-Run Accidents
It is also illegal to leave the scene of a traffic accident in Tennessee. Tennessee Code §55-10-101 states, “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident 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.” In addition to stopping at the scene of the accident, the code requires a driver to remain at the scene to provide information and render aid and assistance to accident victims. Drivers who break this law are subject to fines and jail time.
When you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, there is no other driver to hold responsible for your damages. In some cases, the police may identify and arrest the hit-and-run driver. If so, you can then file an accident claim against the driver’s insurance, provided the driver has insurance coverage. One of the most common reasons for hit-and-run accidents is lack of automobile insurance coverage.
However, if the hit-and-run driver is never identified, you may still be able to recover compensation under your own automobile insurance policy.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is a policy you purchase through your automobile insurance company to cover your damages in the event of a hit-and-run accident or an accident with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company steps into the role that the other driver’s insurance company would have assumed in a traffic accident. Your insurance company pays your damages as if it was the insurance company for the hit-and-run or uninsured driver.
Uninsured motorist coverage is relatively inexpensive compared to the protection it offers. It is in your best interest to discuss uninsured motorist insurance coverage with your insurance agent and consider purchasing the maximum amount of coverage you can afford.
Do I Need An Attorney For An Uninsured Motorist Claim?
We offer free consultations and case evaluations; therefore, you have nothing to lose by meeting with a Knoxville car accident lawyer. You will gain valuable insight into your legal options by consulting with an attorney. What you must remember is that your insurance company is like all other insurance companies and it processes accident claims in the same manner, regardless of whether it is paying the claim of a customer or a third party.
Even when you are dealing with your own insurance company, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an attorney. A Knoxville car accident lawyer has your best interest as his top priority. Your insurance company is more concerned with limiting its liability for your claim. Before you make a mistake that may hurt your accident claim, call our office for a free consultation.
Contact A Knoxville Car Accident Lawyer For More Information
Call Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC at 865-292-2307 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation with a Knoxville auto accident lawyer. Let our attorneys protect your right to a fair and full settlement while you focus on your recovery after a hit-and-run accident or uninsured motorist accident.