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Alabama Hit and Run Laws: Consequences Defenses and What to Do as a Victim

Alabama Hit and Run Laws

Imagine driving down the road when suddenly, another car crashes into yours, damaging your vehicle and leaving you with injuries. However, as you assess the situation, you realize that the other driver has fled the scene of the accident.

This is what is commonly known as a “hit and run” accident. But what do Alabama’s Hit and Run laws say about this incident?

Let’s find out.

Definition and Consequences

Alabama defines a hit and run incident as a collision between a vehicle and any other property or person that results in bodily harm or property damage. If a person is involved in such an accident, they are required to stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident and offer reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.

Additionally, they are mandated to provide their name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to anyone involved in the collision. If an individual fails to stop at the scene of an accident or cannot provide reasonable assistance, and their car is involved in a hit and run incident, they could face charges of leaving the scene of an accident.

Depending on the severity of the accident, leaving the scene may be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, a Class C felony, or even a Class B felony, with penalties ranging from substantial fines to a mandatory prison sentence.

Legal Obligations and Defenses

To avoid being accused of leaving the scene of an accident, drivers have several legal obligations. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, they must stop and provide reasonable assistance.

Secondly, they should not drive their vehicle again until they have fulfilled the necessary requirements. Additionally, drivers can also pursue other charges against the other party involved in the crash.

However, there are also some defenses available to drivers, such as if they were not the actual driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident. Additionally, if theyre in a situation where they believe stopping could result in further bodily harm, leaving the scene is permissible, provided they report the collision condition to the authorities as soon as possible.

What to Do as a Victim

If you ever encounter a hit and run incident, you may feel stressed or panicked. The first thing you want to do is stay calm and take note of essential information, such as the make, model, and license plate number of the offending vehicle.

If possible, obtain the driver’s contact information and any eyewitness accounts of the incident. Next, contact law enforcement immediately to report the accident, providing as many details as possible.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage that covers hit and run incidents, contact your insurance company to get more information on the claim process. Remember to keep any medical records, bills, and photos of your injuries and/or vehicle damage, as this information will provide essential evidence in your case.

Alabama Code Title 32: Motor Vehicles and Traffic

Requirements After an Accident

The Alabama Code states that any driver involved in a crash in the state must stop their vehicle at the scene of the collision and exchange information with anyone involved or with law enforcement officials. Additionally, if there are any injuries or fatalities involved, drivers must provide reasonable medical assistance and contact an ambulance if necessary.

If the vehicles involved in the accident do not interfere with the flow of traffic, the drivers should move them off the road to avoid causing any further crashes. Once moved, if the vehicle’s owner is not at the scene of the collision, they must leave their contact information with the vehicle.

Uninsured Motorist Protection

Alabama also provides uninsured motorist protection to its drivers in situations where the other party involved in the accident does not have any liability insurance. In such situations, the victim can recover damages from their own insurance company up to the policy limits.

The claim process requires the victim to provide accurate testimony and photographic evidence of the incident.

Other Laws and Regulations

Some other relevant Alabama Code sections to be aware of include the liability of the Department of Transportation, which means that if they fail to fix or maintain a road that causes an accident, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. Additionally, the law prohibits drivers from installing a dashcam on their windshields unless it meets specific requirements outlined in the statute.

The Bottom Line

Hit and run accidents can be stressful, both for the victims and the drivers responsible for the collisions. However, it’s crucial to remember the legal obligations that come with driving and what to do in case of an accident.

The information provided here can serve as a starting point for drivers to better understand Alabama’s laws regarding hit and runs and the actions they need to take in such instances. Stay safe, stay informed, and drive responsibly.

Hit and Run Charges and Penalties

Being involved in an accident is already a stressful event, but when someone involved in the collision leaves without offering assistance, it can create a more complex situation known as a hit and run. In the state of Alabama, charges and penalties for hit and run offenses depend on the severity of the incident.

Lets take a closer look.

Hit and Run Resulting in Death or Injury

In Alabama, if a hit and run accident results in death or injury to a person, it is classified as a Class C felony. The minimum sentence for this offense is one year, and the maximum sentence is ten years.

Additionally, the offender may also face a fine of up to $15,000.

Hit and Run Resulting in Property Damage

If the hit and run accident only resulted in property damage, unlike in the previous scenario, the charges will differ. Alabama law classifies this offense as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year and a fine of up to $6,000.

Hit and Run Unattended Vehicle

If a driver is involved in a hit and run accident, in which the collision only caused minimal damage to an unattended vehicle, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for this charge is one year, and the offender may face a fine of up to $2,000.

Contributory Negligence Rule and Negligence

When a hit and run accident occurs, one or both drivers may be considered negligent for the collision. Alabama is one of a few states that practice the contributory negligence rule.

As per this rule, if an injured party in an accident is found to be even 1% at fault, they cannot recover any damages from the other driver or their insurance provider. Determining negligence in a hit and run incident follows the same process as in any other accident.

The burden of proof lies with the victim, who must demonstrate the other driver’s negligence. This requires proving that the defendant owed a duty, breached that duty, their actions directly caused the victim’s damages, and the result was measurable in damages.

Fault Determination in Car Accidents

In Alabama, determining fault in car accidents follows a process similar to how other states handle it. Following the accident, the drivers involved should call the police to report the incident.

The police will assess the situation and produce a police report with details of the incident. Where necessary, insurers may hire accident investigators to help determine fault in the collision.

The state has a regulated set of procedures that insurers must follow, which determine fault in auto accidents. However, the driver who leaves the scene before authorities arrive, and without exchanging information, can be difficult to locate.

Drivers who flee the scene of an accident ultimately make the situation more complicated and can result in significant penalties.

Statute of Limitations and Expert Tips

Statutes of limitations are laws that set a deadline for filing lawsuits in civil cases. In Alabama, victims of hit and run accidents that result in personal injury have two years to file a claim.

It is essential to file the claim within the timeline prescribed by law, or the court may not hear the case.

People involved in a hit and run accident should follow important tips to be able to navigate any potential legal or personal problems.

Firstly, they should seek medical help for any injuries suffered during the incident. Early medical evaluations go a long way to protect victims from potential complications.

They should also have an initial consultation with an experienced legal defense attorney. An expert lawyer looks out for the best interests of their clients, ensuring timely filing of all complaints, and the preservation of evidence that can make a significant difference in legal proceedings.

Other Alabama Laws

Apart from hit and run laws, Alabama has many other road laws. For instance, drivers may not use or have any safety video cameras attached to their windshields, except for fleet vehicles.

Alabama also enforces a primary seat belt law, requiring all drivers, front-seat passengers, and children under 16 to wear a seat belt or face a fine.

The Bottom Line

Hit and run accidents inflict significant physical and emotional pain that can affect victims’ lives forever. Alabama laws are stringent when it comes to hit and run incidents, with serious legal punishments that could result in a felony conviction and even imprisonment.

Victims of hit and run incidents are encouraged to follow the expert tips provided here and partner with specialized legal defense attorneys to build their case successfully. Remember, the best time to deal with a hit and run is before it happens, as it is imperative to make sure that drivers stay accountable and on the road safely.

Hit and run accidents are a serious offense in Alabama, with potential legal consequences ranging from fines to mandatory imprisonment. This article has provided a detailed overview of Alabama’s hit and run laws, including the legal obligations and defenses, charges, and penalties for different categories of hit and run incidents.

Victims of hit and run accidents are encouraged to remain calm, collect information, and seek assistance from law enforcement, insurers, and legal defense attorneys. It is also imperative that all drivers adhere to Alabama’s road laws to avoid collisions that could result in a hit and run charge.

Remember, responsible driving could save a life and protect the road users’ well-being.

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