People involved in car accidents often make the mistake of not calling the police! If you are involved in a car accident, contact the police or other authorities even if the damage seems minor. The duty to inform law enforcement of an accident and a driver’s duties generally when an accident occurs (T.C.A. § 55-6-101-116) apply to accidents, “occurring upon highways and the premises of any shopping center, trailer park or any apartment house complex, or any other premises which are generally frequented by the public at large.”
If you “let the other guy go,” how the accident happened will be an exercise in your word against his or her word. The police officer is an independent witness. The presence of the officer at the scene also provides you and your family with personal security and a better assurance of proper and complete identification of the other driver and the owner of the other driver’s vehicle.
If you “let the other guy go”, or if he or she “gets away”, your uninsured motorist policy may not provide coverage for you. Most uninsured motorist policy provisions provide that you have the duty to take reasonable steps to accurately identify the other driver. There will be no coverage available to you under the uninsured motorist provisions of your policy if the identity of the uninsured driver is unknown unless: “Actual physical contact shall have occurred between the motor vehicle owned or operated by such unknown person and the person or property of the insured; or the existence of such unknown motorist is established by clear and convincing evidence, other than evidence provided by occupants in the insured vehicle; the insured or someone in the insured’s behalf shall have reported the accident to the appropriate law enforcement agency within a reasonable time after its occurrence; and the insured was not negligent in failing to determine the identity of the other vehicle and the owner or operator of the other vehicle at the time of the accident.” T.C.A. § 56-7-1201(e).
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee.