Being hurt in a car accident in Atlanta is a scary and stressful experience. In many cases, injured motorists can take some comfort in knowing that they can seek compensation from whoever caused the crash. But if the accident was a hit and run, victims understandably feel worried and confused about how to obtain a financial recovery for their losses. Fortunately, they’re not out of luck.
In Georgia, there are ways to pursue compensation for an injury even if the at-fault driver leaves the scene of an accident. Schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta hit-and-run accident lawyer at The Champion Firm, today. Our experienced attorneys will listen to your story and identify all possible sources of compensation for you.
Call or contact us now for free and confidential legal advice. There’s no obligation, so you have nothing to lose. The Champion Firm has recovered over $45 Million for victims of car accidents all across Georgia since 2014.
Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident the Same as a Hit-and-Run?
“Hit and run” and “leaving the scene of an accident” essentially mean the same thing. In Georgia, all drivers who are involved in an accident have certain obligations that they must fulfill before they can legally leave a crash site. No, it’s not enough to stop at first and then drive off. If you leave before assisting crash victims and exchanging information, you can be charged with a crime!
Hit-and-Run Laws in Atlanta, Georgia
Under Georgia’s hit-and-run law, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you either must stop or return to the crash scene if the accident resulted in injury or death to any person or resulted in damage to another motor vehicle.
At the scene of the accident, each driver must:
- Provide their name, address, and registration number to all persons involved in the accident.
- Show their driver’s license upon request.
- Offer any reasonable assistance to other persons involved in the accident, including calling 911 if someone has been injured or appears to be in distress.
- Remain at the scene until they have rendered all necessary assistance and exchanged information with all other persons involved in the accident, or until released from the scene by a responding law enforcement officer.
- Avoid obstructing traffic as much as possible.
In addition to criminal charges, a hit-and-run driver could also face civil penalties if they are located. The victim can file a claim for compensation against the driver’s insurance company. However, this may not always be a possibility. One of the main reasons that drivers flee the scene is because they are uninsured. In these situations, or when the responsible driver is not located, a hit-and-run lawyer can help you explore options for compensation through your own insurance policy.
What To Do If You Are The Victim Of A Hit-and-Run in Atlanta
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident or if the driver fails to return to the accident scene, take these steps to protect your rights to compensation:
- Call 911 if anyone has been injured. If you’re hurt, try to avoid moving as much as possible until paramedics arrive to treat you. You could make your injuries worse.
- Pull off the side of the road. If it is safe to do so, move your car to avoid obstructing traffic or causing a secondary accident.
- Write down what you remember. Jot down any details about the vehicle that fled the scene, such as its make/model/color, the license plate number, and a description of the driver. This is not always possible, but any information could help the police identify the driver later.
- Check for witnesses. Pedestrians or bystanders may be able to provide details about the car and driver who left the scene. Also try to look around for any nearby surveillance cameras that may have caught the accident or captured an image of the fleeing car.
- Take pictures or video of the hit-and-run accident scene. Include photos of the damage to your vehicle, any visible injuries you suffered, and other environmental evidence that is relevant to the crash, such as skid marks, road conditions, lighting, weather, and traffic congestion. Usually we ask for photos from the accident scene in our first conversation with a potential new client.
- File a police report. Getting a police report after a hit-and-run accident is especially important because it creates an official record of the crash, rather than the insurance company simply taking your word for it.
- Seek medical care. Even if you don’t feel like you suffered any injuries, see your primary care physician or visit the emergency room as soon as possible after your accident to rule out any hidden injuries. Your health is the top priority! If you begin experiencing pain in the days after the crash, seeing a doctor right away can help protect your claim to compensation.
Can You File A Lawsuit If You Are The Victim Of A Hit-And-Run?
If you’ve been the victim of a driver who committed a hit and run, you have several ways to pursue compensation for your damages:
- Identifying and locating the hit-and-run driver. Once the driver is found, you can file an insurance claim for compensation against his or her insurance policy. Filing a lawsuit is another possibility, though your ability to collect may be limited depending on the at-fault driver’s financial resources and assets.
- File for compensation from your own insurance company. If you ultimately cannot identify the other driver, you may be able to seek coverage for your injuries and damages through your own insurance if you purchased the optional uninsured motorist coverage (UM). Uninsured motorist coverage can provide compensation for all the damages that you would be entitled to seek compensation for in a normal car accident lawsuit, including costs of medical treatment, lost wages and earning potential, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life. Personal injury protection (PIP) benefits may be another source of compensation from your own policy.
Sometimes, people are unaware of whether they have UM or PIP coverage. An experienced hit-and-run lawyer can review your policy for you and prepare your claim for maximum compensation.
Common Injuries From Hit-And-Run Accidents In Fulton County
Injuries frequently suffered by hit-and-run accident victims include:
- Lacerations and contusions
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Whiplash injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
How Can an Atlanta Hit-and-Run Lawyer Help With Your Case?
When you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, a one of our Attorneys at The Champion Firm can help you pursue compensation for the injuries and damages you’ve incurred by:
- Investigating your accident to recover evidence that can be used to identify the hit-and-run driver.
- Working with experts to develop a strong legal argument showing why the accident was not your fault.
- Pursuing all available options for compensation, even if the hit-and-run driver cannot be found.
- Negotiating with insurers to get the fair and full compensation you deserve.
- Preparing your case for trial if that’s what it takes to get the compensation you are owed.
The majority of personal injury cases, including hit-and-run accident claims, can be resolved outside of court. At The Champion Firm, our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta, GA always aim to reach a satisfactory settlement without going to trial. However, we prepare every case as if it is going to trial. That way, we’ll be ready to act right away if settlement negotiations fall through.
Call a Hit-and-Run Attorney in Atlanta
Were you hurt by a driver who fled the scene of a crash? Find out your legal options through a free consultation with an Atlanta hit-and-run lawyer at The Champion Firm today. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.