Being hit by another driver is always frustrating, but it’s especially so when they flee the scene in an effort to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. You could be facing serious injuries and considerable property damage and may not know how you’ll pay for them. Regardless of whether the driver who hit you is eventually found, the Butler Kahn wants to help you get the compensation you need for your medical bills and other expenses. We have extensive experience with hit-and-run cases and are prepared to work with authorities and negotiate with insurance providers to get you the money and peace of mind you deserve. Contact us today to find out what a Roswell, GA hit-and-run lawyer from our team can do for you.
What Is the Georgia Law Regarding Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Section 40-6-270 of the Georgia Code requires all drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or property damage to stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible. Once all the drivers involved in the crash have stopped, they are required to exchange the following information:
- Vehicle registration number
- Driver’s license number (if asked by the other driver)
Additionally, this law requires drivers to render aid to anyone hurt in the crash by alerting the authorities and providing “reasonable assistance” to the injured party.
What are the Top Reasons a Driver Would Leave the Scene of a Roswell Accident?
Some of the reasons a driver might try to flee the scene of an accident in Georgia include:
- The driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol
- The driver was driving a stolen vehicle
- The driver was transporting illegal drugs
- The driver’s license was suspended or expired
- The driver was driving without insurance
- The driver did not want to be held liable for any injuries or property damage they caused
- The driver is wanted by the authorities for a separate offense
- The driver was using a company vehicle
What Should I Do if I Am Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident in Georgia?
The actions you take after a crash are critically important to your claim for compensation, especially if the other driver is trying to flee the scene. Here is what you need to do if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in Georgia:
- Get as much information as you can about the other driver and their vehicle – The more information you can give to police about the driver who hit you, the more likely it is that they will find them and that you can recover compensation from them. Try to note the other vehicle’s make, model, color, license plate number, any damage it sustained, and any other identifying characteristics. Write down anything you can remember about the driver’s appearance while your memory is fresh.
- Do not attempt to chase down the other driver – Getting into a chase with the driver who fled will only put you and others around you at risk of a violent confrontation or accident. You are better off letting the police search for the other driver.
- Call 911 – You need to make certain there is a record of the accident to improve your chances of recovering compensation. Without a police report to substantiate your case, your insurance company may not believe an accident occurred or that it happened in the way you described. Calling 911 will also put the police on the trail of the other driver.
- Document the scene – Use your phone to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the general crash area, and any injuries you sustained. These pictures may be crucial evidence.
- Talk to witnesses – Get contact information and statements from anyone at the scene who may have witnessed the accident because they may corroborate your side of the story.
- Seek medical treatment – Get yourself checked out by a medical professional to make sure you are treated for any injuries you may have sustained and to create documentary evidence of them.
- Contact a hit-and-run accident lawyer – If the other driver is found, a lawyer can help you file a claim against them or their insurer. If the other driver is never caught, an attorney can help you evaluate your options, including filing a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage.
What Are the Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Accident in Roswell?
The penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident in Georgia depend on the extent of the injuries the other party suffered. If the accident resulted in minor injuries or property damage, the fleeing driver can be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-time misdemeanor hit-and-run conviction include a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail. Being found guilty of repeat hit-and-run infractions will cause the penalties to increase. The consequences for fleeing the scene of a more severe accident are much steeper. Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injuries or death is a felony. The penalties include up to five years in prison if convicted.
What Sort of Damages Are Available for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The compensation you can receive for a hit-and-run accident depends on whether the driver who hit you is found and what kind of insurance you carry. If the other driver is caught by the police, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against them and demand compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Damaged personal property
If the other driver is never found, you may be able to use your uninsured motorist coverage to file a claim with your own insurer. Uninsured motorist coverage will help you pay for your medical bills and cover your lost wages up to the limits of your policy. However, uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Georgia, so if you do not have it, you may have a difficult time recovering any compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to claim compensation through your auto insurance policy’s MedPay provision, which reimburses you for medical bills, or through your health insurance policy.
Is There a Time Limit for a Hit-and-Run Injury Lawsuit in Roswell, GA?
Georgia’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims gives you two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. Missing this deadline means you can be denied the chance to recover any compensation for your injuries through the courts.
Contact a Roswell, GA Car Accident Lawyer Today
The Butler Kahn knows how infuriating a hit-and-run accident can be. We are prepared to do whatever we can to get you the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact our office today for a free case review with a Roswell, GA, car accident lawyer.