In Georgia, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Those convicted can face time in jail, fines, and other penalties. If someone is physically harmed in the crash, then the prosecutor will come down hard on the person who fled.
The fact that leaving the scene is a crime, however, doesn’t stop many people from doing just that. Instead of helping injured victims or calling the police, they stomp on the accelerator and speed away. At MG Law, we help men and women who are badly hurt when a negligent motorist flees the scene. Contact us today if you would like to discuss your legal rights to compensation.
Avoid Chasing After The Driver
You might be tempted to hit the gas yourself and track down the motorist who is fleeing. This is a mistake. For one, you might drive recklessly, which is illegal. For another you might be so shaken up that your ability to control your vehicle is compromised. You don’t want to get into an accident that is your fault as you chase the driver. Let him or her go.
Police sometimes track down the person who hit you. However, they need as much information as possible to increase the odds that they find the right person. This means jotting down your memories immediately following the crash.
Of course, you might be completely shaken up. Even worse, you could be in considerable pain from physical injuries. Nevertheless, try to get down as much information about the driver and the vehicle as you can:
- License plate (as much as you saw, if anything)
- The color, make, and model of the car
- A description of the driver (male? female? age? race?)
- The direction the car was headed when it fled
- Anything distinctive about the vehicle, such as a bumper sticker or different-colored door
If you see debris from the car, you can point it out to the police officer as well. Look around the immediate area.
Call The Cops
You need to report the accident as soon as possible. Ideally, you should pull over to the side of the road, (if you can move the car) and call emergency services. An officer should come out to the scene of the accident.
A police report is critical in a hit and run. Without one, your insurer might assume you actually crashed into something all by yourself but are making up a story about an accident in the hopes of receiving compensation. The officer can check over your vehicle and the debris field. Share all you remember about the driver and the vehicle that fled.
Police might not perform an exhaustive search for the driver. This is unfortunate, but police resources are limited. Sometimes, nearby surveillance video captures the accident, which gives the police a definite ID on the car that hit you. However, officers might not put too many boots on the ground if no one was seriously hurt in the crash.
As you wait for the police to come, you can identify witnesses. These could be other motorists, your vehicle passengers, or pedestrians on the sidewalk. If you were struck outside a business, you can go inside and check whether any customers saw anything through the windows.
We recommend talking to witnesses after you write down your own memories. You might find that witnesses remember something different than you do, and you don’t want their memories to influence your own. Politely ask each witness for their name and contact information. Tell them your attorney might need to talk with them about the accident.
Witnesses should stick around for the police officer to come and take their name. But if a witness leaves before then, you can share their identity with the officer.
Photograph The Accident Scene
Pictures are definitely worth a thousand words, and it is hard to reconstruct what an accident scene looked like relying solely on a police report. We recommend taking photographs of all damage to your vehicle before you get it fixed. Photographs at the scene of the accident are ideal.
You should also take pictures of any debris, such as the side mirror or bumper of the car that hit you. This evidence can be very helpful at identifying the driver who tried to get away.
Contact Your Insurer
You need to report the hit and run. Any delay could set off red flags that you are making up the accident. In Georgia, all liability insurance policies come with uninsured motorist coverage unless you reject it in writing. This insurance can step in and cover a hit-and-run accident, which is excellent news.
You might have medical bills, lost wages, and damage to the vehicle. Generally, the driver who is at fault for the accident would pay for these financial losses. But because they have fled, you need to tap your uninsured motorist policy.
Remember, you cannot use this insurance if you are really at fault for the accident. In that case, you will need to look elsewhere. Some motorists have collision insurance which can pay for car repairs. They might also carry medical payments coverage, which can cover the cost of medical bills.
After reporting the accident, avoid giving a recorded statement to any insurance company until you speak with a lawyer. Your memory might not be 100%, and some adjusters ask deliberately confusing statements. Once you obtain legal counsel and review the facts of the case, you will be better positioned to make a statement.
Speak With Our Staff at MG Law Today
Obtaining compensation after a hit and run is harder than it should be. As a responsible driver, you stayed behind for the police to arrive, as you should have. Now is the time to get the compensation you deserve for suffering injury in the accident.
Please call MG Law today. Our legal team has helped many hit and run victims obtain the compensation they need. Please call us today to schedule your free consultation.