The Alabama hit and run laws show that the courts take it seriously when someone causes a crash and then leaves the scene. Depending on the facts of the case, they could face significant fines and jail time.
If this happened to you, an Alabama car accident attorney might be able to help you build a civil case and pursue compensation. Hit and run drivers could face both criminal and civil consequences for their behavior.
How Does Alabama Law Define Hit and Run?
Under Ala. Code § 32-10, drivers cannot leave the scene of a crash without first taking several steps to ensure others are okay and have the necessary information to begin an insurance claim or other civil action. This includes:
- Exchanging information with others involved in a minor property damage crash
- Calling the police or 911 and giving them the pertinent information
- Speaking with the officers who respond to the scene and providing the necessary information
- Helping anyone who suffered injuries in the crash, such as calling for an ambulance or providing other aid
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What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Alabama?
The penalties for a hit and run depend on the severity of the accident. A driver who leaves the scene of an injury accident could face felony charges and conviction.
According to Alabama law, possible penalties include:
- For injury or death: Under Ala. Code § 13A-5-6 a conviction of a Class C felony, with one year and one day to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- For property damage only: Under Ala. Code § 13A-5-7 a conviction of a Class A misdemeanor, could mean up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000.
It is important to know the circumstances of the accident will play a significant role in the penalty received. For example, a driver who struck an unattended vehicle in a parking lot and left the scene will likely face less severe consequences than one who hit a vehicle on the road and did not check on the occupants of the car before fleeing.
How to Identify a Hit and Run Motorist After a Crash
The police, your attorney, or even your insurance company will identify the driver who hit you and ran in many cases. This may be possible by:
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Identifying and analyzing surveillance and dashcam video
- Gathering physical evidence from the scene
- Asking the public to provide any information via the media
Identifying the at-fault driver is vital for several reasons. This includes:
- Getting justice in your case
- Letting the criminal justice system work
- Recovering compensation for your medical care and other expenses
What If I Cannot Identify the Driver Who Caused My Accident?
If the police cannot identify and charge the hit and run driver, you may need to rely on another option for seeking compensation to cover your bills, car repairs, and other losses. The best option is usually an uninsured motorist policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in Alabama, but many drivers carry it. State law ensures it is offered alongside liability coverage and at the same level. However, they also have an option to refuse this policy, known as “opting out.”
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses up to the policy maximum when:
- A driver causes an accident without liability insurance
- The identity of a negligent driver is unknown
If you do not have this type of insurance policy, there may still be options for recovering some compensation for your damages. This could include:
- Using collision coverage for car repairs
- Filing a claim with your health insurer to pay for your medical care
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An Attorney May Be Able to Help You with Your Hit and Run Claim in Alabama
Working with a car accident attorney could help you navigate the claims process and recover compensation for your injuries in a hit and run accident. A car accident lawyer will:
- Investigate what happened
- Help identify the hit and run driver, if possible
- Follow the criminal case to gather additional evidence
- File your uninsured motorist claim, if necessary
- Prepare and file a liability claim or lawsuit against the driver, if identified
- Represent your best interests during this process
Most car accident attorneys in Alabama represent clients based on a contingency fee. They do not charge accident victims anything upfront. Instead, they get a percentage of the payout for attorney’s fees.
Contact Morris Bart & Associates, LLC Today for a Free Case Assessment
The Morris Bart law firm provides complimentary case consultations for hit and run accident victims. We want to discuss your case with you and weigh your legal options. The areas we serve include the four states of the Gulf South: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We have four locations in Alabama and offer representation statewide. Contact us today, and we can connect you with the office nearest you.
Call (800) 537-8185 to speak with a lawyer for free.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.