Hit-and-run accidents are among the most demoralizing types of collisions. Injuries and the potentially losing your own car are bad enough. Knowing that the perpetrator who caused the crash refuses to take responsibility for their actions makes it even frustrating for hit-and-run victims. Worse still: if the hit-and-run driver cannot be discovered, then you have to look to your own insurance carrier for relief. It doesn’t matter if you are a pedestrian, riding your bike, or driving your care: if you don’t have the right kind of coverage, you will likely not be able to recover any money for your injuries and losses.
The attorneys of MG Law can help you navigate what, for many, will be one of the most frustrating and unfair experiences of their lives. We work with the police and investigators to try to locate the other driver. If the driver is found, we demand payment for all of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Where possible, we will also demand that they pay a penalty for their dishonest behavior. If the driver cannot be found, or does not have insurance or enough insurance, we then work to get your own insurance company to pay your damages through the uninsured or underinsured provisions of your policy. We will guide you through the entire process and deal with the relevant parties for you, leaving you to focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.
Steps to Take if You Were Hurt in a Hit-and-Run
In hit-and-run cases, it is important to contact the police and have them come to the scene of the accident so that they can get your information and write a report. It is always important to have a wreck documented, but it is especially crucial in a hit-and-run. Not calling the police gives an insurance company another excuse not to pay you or say you are lying-don’t give it to them!
You should also try to remember the following:
- The make, model, and color of the car that hit you
- How the crash happened and what damage, if any, the other car suffered
- Any identifying characteristics about the driver that struck your car
If possible, you and the police should get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. You should also take pictures of the scene and of your vehicle. Sometimes, the driver can be identified based on your property damage if he/she seeks to fix a damaged car. Our hit-and-run injury lawyers and investigators may be able to piece together enough information to determine who the other driver was.
Insurance Options in Georgia Hit-and-Run Cases
If the hit-and run-driver can be identified and has insurance, then a claim can be brought against the driver or the owner of the vehicle. Unsurprisingly, though, a person willing to hit another driver and flee the scene usually does not have insurance. It’s not uncommon for a hit-and-run driver to flee due to fear of facing other charges, such as driving a stolen vehicle or a DUI-these are not people you would expect to carry a responsible level of insurance.
Most victims of hit-and-runs must rely on their own policy to get compensation for their injuries. In Georgia, car owners are required to have:
- Bodily Injury Liability – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident
- Property Damage Liability – $25,000 per incident
Georgia does not require drivers to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, however. It can be tempting not to have it, as it will likely lower your insurance premium. Going without is not free, however: if you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance (or enough insurance), you will likely have to pay for your medical bills on your own. In a hit-and-run, you will also have to pay to fix your own car. For this reason, drivers should have as much insurance as they can afford to purchase – including UM/UIM insurance – so that they are fully covered in the event of a hit-and-run. Importantly, UM/UIM insurance will provide coverage even if you were a pedestrian or riding your bike-it covers you, and not just your car.
Hit-and-Run: A Serious Crime
So far, we have focused on what options a hit-and-run victim has, and what steps you should take both before and after a hit-and-run. However, it is important not lose sight of the fact that a hit-and-run is a serious crime. Georgia law requires any driver that damages another person’s property and/or injures another person to:
- Give their name and address and the registration number of the vehicle they were driving at the time;
- Show their license to the people hit;
- If someone is injured, take steps necessary ensure that the injured person(s) either receive the treatment they need, or receive call 9/11 to ensure that first responders get the injured person the help they need. This is especially important where the injured person is unconscious or too hurt to do so themselves.
Anyone that injures another person with their vehicle and does not take these steps faces a felony hit-and-run charge that carries a minimum one-year prison sentence, with the potential for a five-year prison sentence.
MG Law Can Help
Do not despair if a hit-and-run driver causes you physical harm; it is a difficult process, but you have options and we are here to help. Contact MG Law for a free consultation with one of our hit-and-run attorneys to learn more about how we can help. Call us or complete our contact form today.