Hit and Run Accidents
A “hit and run” collision occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an accident involving injury or death, or damage to a car that is attended. Under Georgia law drivers are required to stop and identify themselves and their vehicle and render reasonable assistance including transportation to a medical facility or making contact with emergency personnel. If a driver doesn't stop under these circumstances a hit and run has occurred according to the state of Georgia.
If this happens to you, be sure to seek out the help of an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer to protect your legal rights.Hit & Run Accidents & The Law
An obvious problem for the victim of a hit and run is that the party who would normally be responsible for paying for the damage has fled the scene. That is why it is imperative that a victim of hit and run make every reasonable attempt to locate the doer of the damage. In fact, Georgia law requires that law enforcement be informed of a hit and run accident as soon as reasonably possible. This is a good idea not only to be compliant with the law, but also because the police might be able to track down the person culpable for the harm caused.
After filing an accident report, get yourself to a doctor or other health professional if you feel you need treatment. Be sure to retain all documentation of payments. With some luck, the police might be able to track down the hit and run driver who has injured you and damaged your car.
If police inquiry into the hit and run comes up empty, the next step is to turn to your insurance policy. Hopefully, you have purchased insurance with uninsured and under insured coverage. If you do not already have this type of coverage it is highly recommended that you purchase it in case you find yourself in these unfortunate circumstances. Your lawyer can help navigate these complex insurance issues.Dealing with Insurance Companies
Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage will provide a source of compensation when the responsible driver cannot be found after a hit and run collision. The procedure can be murky and insurance companies are often hard to deal with, so it is a wise idea to reach out to an experience and qualified personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.
Insurance companies are often suspicious of hit and run claims as being fabricated after the driver has injured themselves or damaged their own car as a result of the driver's own negligence. This is why it is important to immediately notify police of the accident.
In Georgia, before a claim can be collected against an uninsured/ underinsured insurance policy, the injured driver must show "due diligence" in tracking down the guilty party even if the police cannot locate them.
- Speak to other people at the scene.
- Did anyone see the accident?
- Does anyone have a description of the car that stuck you?
- Does anyone remember the make or model of the car? Perhaps the color?
- Did you or anyone else get a chance to see the license plate number? Use this information in your search to find the guilty person and to demonstrate "due diligence" in finding that person.
If the responsible party cannot be located, either by the police or by independent investigation, your attorney might have to file a complaint against your insurance carrier. A "John Doe" claim must first be made to be compliant with Georgia law. This will require publishing notice of the impending claim in the local newspaper or other authorized location. Next, your lawyer will seek nominal damages against John Doe from the court to show that a judgment has been found in your favor. Once these nominal damages have been won, usually in the form of one dollar, an action may be brought against the insurance company.Contact a Lawyer
Hit and run accidents can create a tricky legal landscape. If you have been injured or your property damaged by a hit and run driver contact the Persons Firm by calling 770 424 5125 immediately for a free consultation.