Knoxville Lawyers Demanding Justice for Hit and Run Accident Victims
Holding drivers accountable for refusing to help their fellow man after a crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHRSA) found, according to USA Today, that over 1,200 people die in hit-and-run accidents each year. The number of deaths is increasing yearly. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 3 in 5 hit and run accidents kill a pedestrian. There’s simply no excuse for failing to stop and render assistance. In the tragic event that a driver kills someone, the driver MUST call the police.
At Banks and Jones, our trial attorneys understand how crushing it is to lose a loved one. We sympathize with any victim of a hit and run who suffers a traumatic brain injury, paralysis, broken bones, or any type of serious injuries. Our Knoxville hit and run lawyers work with the police to determine the identity of the person who failed to respect human dignity and failed to offer assistance to you or a family member. We also conduct our own investigation to aid the police, and when necessary, to identify the driver. Our lawyers leave no stone unturned to win your case.
Why hit and run accidents happen in Knoxville
In virtually all hit-and-run cases, the driver is fully aware that he/she hurt someone. While the humane and decent thing to do is stop, drivers usually flee for the following reasons:
- They know they were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
- Their license was suspended or revoked
- They don’t have insurance
- They know they have minimal insurance that won’t pay for the devastating loss or injuries
A driver may have stolen a car or may already be fleeing from the police. Other drivers may be frightened or panicked. Other people are so distracted they don’t even realize they hit you.
Tennessee hit and run laws
Drivers who get into an accident are required, by Tennessee law, to do the following:
- Stop. Drivers must stop and park their car as close as they can to the accident scene without obstructing traffic.
- Contact law enforcement. If anyone is hurt or the damage to property (cars, traffic signs, anything) is more than $50, the driver must call the police. Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)-55-10-106
- Share information. Pursuant to TCA 55-10-103 – If a passenger in any car or a driver of another is injured, the driver must:
- Render assistance such as by calling 911 or helping the injured person to safety
- Provide his or her name, address, and vehicle registration information.
- Unattended vehicles. If the driver strikes a parked car, then the driver must leave a written note on the car identifying the driver, the owner and the insurance policy for the car. Alternatively, the driver should seek to find the owner of the vehicle and share the required information. TCA. 55-10-104
- Fixtures or property such as road signs. The driver must contact the government agency, company, or person in charge of the property and provide the required contact and insurance information. TCA. 55-10-105
Drivers who fail to follow these laws can be charged with a misdemeanor if only property was damaged. If convicted, they can be sentenced to jail and be required to pay fines. They may also lose their driver’s license. If the damage is under $500, the driver can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. The charge can be increased to a Class B misdemeanor if the damage is more than $500. TCA. 55-10-102
Drivers who fail to render assistance if someone was injured or died can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, face years in jail, ordered to pay substantial fines, and risk license suspension. If the driver knew, or should have known, someone died, and they failed to stop and help out – the driver can be charged with a Class E felony. TCA. 55-10-101
The hit and run laws apply to interstates, highways, streets, roads, parking lots, apartment complexes, and any public locations.
Collecting insurance proceeds in Tennessee hit and run cases
If the driver is identified, we demand that he/she be held liable for your injuries or for the death of a family member. We work with the police and prosecutors who bring criminal actions. We bring the civil actions.
- Personal injury claims. If the driver had insurance, then we typically seek the fully policy limits including:
- Payment for pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Any burial bills
- Punitive damages
Our lawyers don’t stop with the driver. Other people or businesses may also be liable. Normally, the owners of the vehicle, if different from the driver, are responsible for their driver’s actions. We demand that the owner’s insurance company pay for your damages. If the company refuses to pay the damages, our Knoxville hit-and-run lawyers sue both the owners and the driver.
- First-party insurance claims. If the driver can’t be identified, didn’t have insurance, or didn’t have enough insurance, our Knoxville attorneys fight to have your own car insurance policy pay the damages that are due – provided you had uninsured or underinsured coverage. We make sure you notify the insurance company and law enforcement so that your coverage applies.
- Liquor liability claims. Tennessee also has a law, called a dram shop law, that applies to taverns, hotels, and other alcoholic vendors. The seller is required to pay for your damages if:
- The driver was visibly intoxicated when the alcohol was purchased, or the driver was under 21
- The vendor received money in return for serving the drinks
- The drink was the cause of the accident
Tennessee does not have social host liability.
Suggested tips if you are the victim of a hit and run collision
Our Knoxville attorneys suggest that you:
- Immediately contact the police so they can investigate what happened. Police should also arrange for medical help if needed.
- Contact your uninsured motorist carrier as soon as possible to place them on notice about the accident.
- Note the make, model and color of the vehicle that struck you – if you know.
- Note any damage the other car suffered or likely had as a result of the accident.
- Take pictures with your smartphone or a camera.
You should also ask if anyone around the site saw the accident. If so, get their names and contact information.
Arrange to meet with an aggressive hit and run lawyer today
Delay in hit and run cases can hurt your case. Memories fade. The sooner you speak with an experienced Knoxville attorney, the better we can refresh your memory, speak with witnesses, and work with the police. Our attorneys will also negotiate your claim on behalf of your insurance adjustor and the insurance companies of the driver and any other responsible parties. We always Fight 2 Win your case in court. For help now, call the attorneys at Banks and Jones by phoning us at 865.407.2122 or by contacting us. Consultations are free.