Under Georgia law, if someone causes a wreck that results in $50 or more in damages, they are required to stop and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If they cause an injury, they must stop, render aid, and share contact information with the other driver. Many times, they must also report the accident to law enforcement.
If they fail to do so and flee the scene, they are committing a hit and run. If you have been the victim of such an accident, speak with a seasoned car accident attorney. An Atlanta hit and run accident lawyer may be able to provide valuable help.
Common Fact Patterns
There are some common patterns hit and run accidents in Atlanta follow. Hit and run accidents can happen at any time, but they most often happen at night. Also, they are usually the result of someone who does not have insurance, has a suspended license, or is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When a hit and run accident occurs, it is important to get an Atlanta hit and run accident lawyer involved immediately who can reach out and cooperate with law enforcement. An attorney can try to find surveillance camera footage if the accident happened in an area where there are businesses or houses nearby. An attorney can also locate witnesses who may be able to identify a license plate or have other information that can lead to the identification of the hit and run driver.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
When someone is in a hit and run case and is unable to locate the other driver, it becomes necessary to use uninsured motorist coverage. When someone cannot find the at-fault driver, there is no way to recover damages because no one was identified who can pay the demanded compensation.
When an individual sues the at-fault driver and has UM/UIM coverage and the UM/UIM carrier defends the case, the jury may return a verdict against the at-fault driver for the compensatory damages relating to the pain, suffering, injuries, and medical expenses. The jury may even return a verdict for punitive damages. In that scenario, the underinsured or uninsured motorist carrier is responsible for paying the verdict against the at-fault driver for the medical bills, injuries, and expenses; but is not responsible for paying the punitive damages.
Another interesting thing about a hit and run claim is that when an injured person seeks to collect from their uninsured motorist carrier there must be evidence of physical contact with the vehicle that hit them or a corroborating witness to validate the claimant’s version that the allegedly at-fault driver did, in fact, cause the wreck.
If there are no witnesses to corroborate their version of events and no evidence of physical contact with another vehicle, the person cannot collect from the uninsured motorist carrier. The rules are intended to prevent fraudulent claims against UM/UIM carriers when someone is inattentive and runs off the road and later tries to claim the accident was the fault of someone else. Unfortunately, the requirements can be distorted or perverted by the uninsured motorist carriers to make it more difficult for people to recover compensation a legitimate claim.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
There are three important steps anyone who suffers an injury in a hit and run accident should take. The first step is to get immediate medical treatment. People often have an adrenaline rush after a wreck, particularly when they were in a hit and run they become excited or agitated. The injured person usually does not focus on how they feel physically. Many times, people suffer significant injuries such as a disc herniation or a spinal injury and are unaware of that injury until later when the adrenaline subsides and they begin to notice their symptoms.
The second step is to contact their insurance carrier immediately. Although in Atlanta, an individual generally has two years after a wreck to make a claim against the responsible party, many insurance policies require the person bringing a claim to give notice about a potential claim to their insurance company as soon as practical. The third step a person needs to take is to contact an Atlanta hit and run accident lawyer who can preserve the required evidence. An attorney can also usually help identify any appropriate insurance policies.
Importance of Hiring an Atlanta Hit and Run Accident Attorney
The insight and experience an attorney brings to a case could prove to be very beneficial. Often times, attorneys have been through a number of cases such as yours. They may have developed relationships with people in the court system and experts alike. An Atlanta hit and run accident lawyer may be able to use their resources to make your claim much more likely to be successful. Reach out to an attorney today.