Hit-and-Run Car Accident Lawyer
Needless to say, no one should ever flee the scene of a crash without checking if other drivers and passengers are injured and need help. Not only does fleeing the scene reflect a lack of common decency, but doing so is also a crime. Notwithstanding, hit-and-run accidents happen every day, leaving countless crash victims struggling to secure the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and losses.
Fortunately, they do not need to face this situation alone. If you or a loved one were hurt in a hit-and-run accident, the best thing to do is consult with a personal injury attorney to make sure you understand all your legal rights and options. The legal team at Geiger Legal Group, LLC, is here to help. We can explore all possible sources of compensation. Contact our car accident hit-and-run attorney today to learn more in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Understanding Hit-and-Run Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hit-and-run crash fatalities recently jumped by an astonishing 26 percent nationwide in just one year. Even so, fleeing the scene of an accident remains illegal in Georgia. The governing statute provides as follows:
“The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible . . .”
Further, drivers involved in a crash are required to:
- Provide their name, address, license number, and vehicle registration number to others in the crash
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured, which could include driving them or making arrangements to transport them to a local hospital
- Make reasonable efforts to contact local emergency responders to report what happened and request assistance for anyone who appears deceased, unconscious, or unable to speak
- Remain at the scene without obstructing traffic until fulfilling each of these legal obligations
Leaving a crash scene without satisfying these requirements set by state law is a criminal offense. If the accident causes property damage or a non-serious injury, the hit-and-run offense is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $300 and $1,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both. If the crash causes severe injury or death, the hit-and-run offense is raised to a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
What If You Hit a Parked Vehicle?
If you hit a stationary, unattended vehicle, you still have a legal duty to make a report. Specifically, if the accident causes $500 or more in property damage, you must “immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such accident to the local police department if such accident occurs within a municipality. If such accident occurs outside a municipality, such notice shall be given to the office of the county sheriff or to the nearest office of the state patrol.”
Common Car Accident Injuries
As with any auto accident, hit-and-run accidents can lead to injuries ranging from mild to life-threatening. Injuries we sometimes see in hit-and-run accidents include the following:
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Soft-tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Dislocated, fractured, and broken bones
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Burn injuries, including “road rash”
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs), including full or partial paralysis
- Scars, permanent disfigurement, and loss of limb
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
Who Is Liable in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
It depends. In most personal injury cases, plaintiffs recover compensation by proving that someone else caused the accident through their negligence (i.e., failure to use reasonable care). Fault must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
Of course, hit-and-run drivers commonly flee the scene when they are clearly responsible for an accident and want to avoid the consequences. However, though fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime and would certainly create a bad impression with a jury, it does not always mean the hit-and-run driver caused the accident. Depending on the circumstances, other potential at-fault parties may include:
- Another negligent road user
- A vendor that provided alcohol to an at-fault drunk driver
- A manufacturer responsible for a defective car part
- A government agency responsible for poor road maintenance
What Compensation Can I Receive Through a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you can locate the hit-and-run driver and successfully show that they were responsible for the accident, you could recover compensation for things like your:
- Past and future medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
However, in many cases, it is not possible to find a hit-and-run driver after they flee. The good news is that you may still have other sources of compensation available to you.
For example, you could file a claim with your own auto insurance carrier. This is possible if you purchased uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Because most insurers treat hit-and-run drivers as though they were uninsured in the event they cannot be found after an accident, you can turn to your UM policy for coverage.
Alternatively, you could also turn to any personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage that may be included in your policy. Among other things, this can help pay for the expense of treating your injuries. You could also turn to your collision coverage to pay for your property damage.
Contact Our Experienced Hit-and-Run Car Accident Attorney in Georgia
Being involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver can be very frustrating for victims as they struggle to recover from their injuries and other losses. The legal team at Geiger Legal Group, LLC, is standing by to help you explore all potential sources of compensation. You can count on us to leave no stone unturned. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Georgia hit-and-run car accident attorney.