hit and run car accidents in bristol tn

Under Tennessee law, a driver who causes an accident is legally responsible for resulting bodily injury and property damage, but sometimes the driver at fault leaves the scene and is never identified. Fortunately, a person injured in a hit-and-run may not be completely without recourse. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage (UM/UIM) may step in and cover accident-related expenses.

UM/UIM coverage is part of a standard automobile insurance policy. It means the injured party’s insurance company pays benefits when the driver at fault is unknown, or does not have sufficient liability insurance or simply has no insurance at all. According to statistics gathered by the Insurance Information Institute, as of 2019, almost one-quarter of drivers in Tennessee were uninsured.

A Tennessee statute requires insurance companies to include in every automobile policy a line of UM/UIM coverage equal to the policy’s limits of bodily injury liability coverage. This means, in theory, that drivers in Tennessee should have at least the following coverage limits for accidents caused by uninsured drivers:

  • $25,000 for each injury or death, per accident
  • $50,000 for all injuries and deaths, per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage.

Unfortunately, Tennessee law also allows drivers to opt out (in writing) of UM/UIM coverage. You should check your policy to make sure you have this coverage in place. Compared to the benefits it can provide, the cost of uninsured coverage is marginal. This is not a wise place to pinch pennies.

If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident or by a driver that is uninsured, dealing directly with your insurance company has potential pitfalls. Although your agent may seem to be on your side, he also has a duty to protect the interests of the insurance company. Although you must notify your insurance agent, it is also wise to consult with an experienced Tennessee auto accident attorney.

At the law firm of Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. in Bristol, we have deep experience representing car accident victims throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in their insurance claims and related legal matters. We offer a free initial consultation for these claims, so don’t hesitate to reach out. You can call us at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation today.