Hit-and-run cases on the rise across the Tennessee Valley

WAFF's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 11:06 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Drivers in Alabama should be on high alert.

Personal injury attorneys say hit-and-runs are on the rise. They’ve been taking on more of these cases over the past six months, and unfortunately, the victims are left to pay the price.

“I would say the majority of the time, the police don’t find them, the prosecutors don’t find them. Personal injury attorneys who represent the victims can’t find them,” said attorney Bart Siniard. “But we can look back at the facts and see a pattern.”

Siniard says hit-and-runs typically happen late at night and often involve a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Other times, the culprit of a hit-and-run may have a warrant that could lead to jail time if they were to stop at the scene of an accident.

“Protect yourself on the front end,” Siniard continued. “I know that’s not fair but there’s a way you can protect yourself from hit-and-run accidents through your own insurance. You can buy what’s called Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Most people have no clue what that is.”

Uninsured Motorist Coverage protects drivers in the event you or your car gets hit by someone who leaves the scene of the accident. It’s what protected Liliana Serrano’s daughter, a victim of a hit-and-run, when a driver hit her car without stopping on I-565.

“One of her passengers, she quickly told them to take a picture of the tag when they noticed they weren’t going to stop,” Serrano said. “Her passenger took a picture of the tag, she called 911, then she called us, then she pulled over. So I think she handled it really well.”

Liliana’s attorney, Hunter Garnett says without Uninsured Motorist Coverage, it becomes a hard conversation to have with potential clients.

“Over half of drivers in Alabama either have no insurance or the bare minimum amount of insurance, which is $25,000. So if you’re in a bad accident, if you don’t have underinsured-uninsured motorist coverage, you could be on the hook for a huge medical expense,” he said.

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