As a responsible driver you know that if you’re involved in a crash you must remain at the scene, provide assistance to anyone who was injured, and exchange your insurance and contact information with all other drivers. But what happens if another driver doesn’t follow the law? How can you pay for all the repairs to your vehicle and your medical bills when the other driver flees the scene?
Being the victim in a hit-and-run accident is an exceptionally stressful experience. Not only do you have to deal with the physical, emotional and financial consequences that come with getting in any type of car crash, but now you’re left with the fear and uncertainty that comes with not knowing if you’ll get any compensation for your losses.
Why Do Some Drivers Flee Accident Scenes?
Despite the fact that leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and if caught, can result in jail time, every year thousands of Georgia drivers are involved in hit and run crashes.
In many cases drivers who leave a crash without either providing aid to the victims or giving out their name, address and insurance information are:
Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
Repeat offenders who don’t want to face the legal consequences of their actions
Driving without insurance, a drivers’ license, or both
Driving a stolen vehicle
Carrying illegal weapons, drugs, or a combination of the two
In the United States illegally
No matter why a driver decides to run from a car crash, the fact is that as a victim of a hit and run, you have limited options when it comes to seeking compensation. In a typical car crash, the costs would be covered by the at-fault driver through their insurance company, but when you don’t know the identity of the other driver, you should seek legal advice from an experienced hit and run accident attorney right away.
Can Georgia Hit and Run Victims Get Compensation?
Uninsured motorist, or UM coverage is mandatory in Georgia for all drivers. This insurance is designed to cover you in situations where you are in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, and it also extends some protection against hit-and-run drivers.
How Much Money Could I Get After a Hit and Run Accident?
If the at-fault driver can’t be located by the authorities, you could be eligible for compensation from your insurance company for both bodily injuries and property damage.
The amount of money that you may qualify for depends on your policy limits, which usually mirrors the coverage you have in your liability insurance policy. For example, if you have a $50,000/$100,000 liability policy, the most your insurance company would pay out for injury claims is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. If you Um coverage of the same amount, this means that you can only collect up to $50,000.00 from that policy for your injury claims.
In many hit-and-run cases, our injury lawyers are able to collect benefits from multiple car insurance policies. Under Georgia law, hit-and-run victims are allowed to stack coverages available under different insurance policies. More specifically, the crash victim can collect UM benefits from the auto insurance policy covering the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run accident PLUS also collect benefits from their own personal car insurance policy (if it is different than the one covering the involved vehicle) PLUS also collect from every car insurance policy held by any family member who lived at the crash victim’s address on the collision date.
Using UM coverage should not harm your coverage or raise your family’s car insurance rates. Also, keep in mind that even though this is your own coverage, the claims adjusters in these cases actually represent and defend the hit-and-run driver. Thus, they will work hard to minimize your injury claim payments. Please don’t place your trust with the insurance adjuster who is being paid to oppose your personal injury case.
As soon as you realize that the other driver has left the scene without leaving his or her information with you, record as many details about the accident and the driver as you can. Take plenty of photos of the crash scene and get the name and contact details from any witnesses in the area. Use a pen and paper to make notes or make a video on your cellphone right away because the longer you wait, the harder it can be to recall what you know about the hit and run driver.
Be sure to include:
The color, make and model of vehicle that left the scene
The licence plate number (if possible), or at least the state the plate is from
What damage you noticed on the other vehicle
Any details you can remember about the driver and his/or her passengers
Other information that could help identify the vehicle, such as bumper stickers, custom rims or colored tint on the windows
The direction the vehicle was traveling when the driver fled the scene
You truly should not attempt to follow a driver who flees the scene of a crash. Giving chase can further endanger you and other innocent parties. If you have a dashcam, be sure to save the file of the crash immediately as this could help the authorities locate the other driver and be powerful evidence to support your Unisured Motorist insurance claim.
Call the local police right away and seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt. Once the police have been notified and you’re safe, contact our team of hit and run accident medical professionals and attorneys at 833-INJURED. It’s free to call us for a confidential consultation.