Leaving the scene of a car accident is a grave offense. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §40-6-270, drivers must immediately stop after an accident with injuries or deaths. When a driver hits and runs, they leave victims with injuries and limited legal options.
After a hit and run accident, contact a lawyer right away. You will need help seeking compensation for your accident costs. At John Foy & Associates, we can help—starting with a free, no-risk consultation.
There is no charge unless we win your case. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today for your free consultation.
Why a Driver Hits and Runs
A driver who leaves the scene is usually trying to avoid something, such as:
- Lack of insurance coverage
- Suspended driver’s license
- Arrest warrants
- Drunk driving
- Drugs or other illegal substances in the car
Some drivers will flee out of panic, even if they don’t have a criminal record. Or, they might have a minor offense. No matter the reason, the driver is still responsible for leaving the scene. They have broken the law and left you in an uncertain position.
If you were the victim of a hit and run, document everything you can. The more information you can get about the driver, the better. You should also contact a lawyer who can help you investigate who is at fault.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
Hit and run accidents often cause injuries or vehicle damage. In some cases, a driver hits a parked car when the driver isn’t around. Instead of looking for the parked car’s owner or leaving a note, the driver leaves the scene.
If someone else performed a hit and run on you, there are things you can do. Even if the driver is nowhere to be seen, stay at the scene to gather helpful information.
Try to Record Information on the Driver
You might notice things about the driver before they can flee. For example, try to get the following:
- License plate number
- Driver’s physical details
- Make and model of the vehicle
- Car color
- Any other features, such as bumper stickers
- Which direction the driver went
If you didn’t get the full license plate number, maybe try to remember what you can. Even if you only remember a few numbers, write them down immediately.
Also, do not follow the fleeing vehicle. Instead, stay at the scene and gather what evidence you can.
Contact the Police
The other driver should have stayed at the scene to call the police. Since that didn’t happen, it’s vital for you the call right away. Stay at the location and call 9-1-1.
Tell the police that another driver caused your accident and left the scene. Provide officers with any information you gathered. They will create an accident report and can help you look for the driver.
Document the Scene
If there were any eyewitnesses, talk to them about what they saw. Someone else might have noticed details about the driver that you didn’t. Ask for witnesses’ names and contact information.
Also, take pictures of any injuries and vehicle damage you have. Photograph the area where the accident happened to help you remember the exact location. Note any possible traffic or surveillance cameras nearby.
Call a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
Contact an experienced lawyer near you. Tell them about what happened, including that the other driver left the scene. Your lawyer can send investigators to the scene and help look for the driver.
Don’t wait to call a lawyer. Time is crucial after a hit and run accident. To get the legal help you need today, contact John Foy & Associates at (404) 400-4000 for a free consultation.
Who’s Responsible for Hit and Run Accident Costs
The driver who fled the scene is usually at fault. And according to OCGA §51-1-6, the careless driver in an accident is responsible for the damages.
If you catch the driver, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against them. The first step is usually to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Sadly, many hit and run drivers don’t have insurance—and that might even be a reason they fled.
If you identify the driver and they don’t have insurance, you can try suing them. The problem is that drivers who flee often have little assets to draw from. If you can’t file a claim or sue, you can usually turn to your own insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Most drivers have uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Unless you specifically opted out when you bought insurance, you probably have UM/UIM insurance.
If you have UM/UIM coverage, your insurance should cover the damages from a hit and run accident. Auto insurance treats a fleeing driver as an uninsured driver. The coverage can help pay for costs like:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
The insurance can also cover wrongful death damages if a loved one died in a hit and run accident.
The amount you can recover from your own insurance depends on your uninsured motorist coverage limits. If you’re not sure how much coverage you have, check the details of your insurance policy. Your lawyer can also help determine your coverage limits.
Unfortunately, even your own insurance might look for ways to pay you less. So, before filing a claim, it’s best to contact a hit and run accident lawyer. Your lawyer can protect you from accepting lowball settlement offers or other insurance tactics.
Get Help from a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer and Know Your Rights
Hit and run accidents are stressful and incredibly challenging. It can feel like you have no options to recover your accident damages. However, don’t make assumptions without speaking to a lawyer first.
Our lawyers at John Foy & Associates have over 20 years of experience helping hit and run victims. We can help you look for the responsible driver and fight for what you deserve. If you need to turn to your own insurance, we’ll be your biggest advocate.
Reach out today for a free, no-risk consultation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.