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Hit and Run Accident

Another driver hit my car with theirs and then took off - Now what?

When a person has been in an auto accident, the duty of the driver is to stop his or her car, to make sure the others involved in the accident are okay and to call 911 if not, give his or her name, address and registration to the others involved, and call the police. But what happens when the driver at-fault or the other driver leaves the scene? If someone leaves the scene of the accident without proper handling, then it is considered fleeing the scene of the accident or a hit and run. Fleeing the scene of the accident is not only ill advised, but it is also illegal.

What is a Hit and Run?

A hit and run is when a driver of any vehicle is involved in hitting another, whether it is a pedestrian, another vehicle, or fixed object, and knowingly leaves the scene of the accident and does not return (O.C.G.A. §40-6-270).

The most common hit and run is when a driver hits a car while backing up, running into or sideswiping while in a parking lot. However, hit and runs can be more serious, causing injuries to others or even resulting in the death of another.

Dos and Don'ts of a Hit and Run

Like any other collision, you're going to want to document as much as possible for the police and your insurance company. However, due to the other driver leaving the scene, information might be limited. Below, you will find a list of dos and don'ts if you are involved in a hit and run accident. 

  • Do record as much information as you can about the other driver and their car
    • Tag Number
    • Make, Model, and Color
    • Direction the vehicle was headed
    • Description of the damage to the other car
    • Take pictures of the damage done to your car
    • Location, Time, and Cause of the Accident

 Giving all this information to the police will help the police find the person who drove off sooner.

  • Don't wait to call the police or insurance company. Waiting to call won't help you find the person who took off. An official police report will not only help your insurance when you file a claim, but will also help for the driver who left.
  • Do ask those around you who saw the accident if they could help with any information in regards to the accident. Make sure to get their name and contact information.
  • Don't follow the fleeing driver. Not only does this put you in danger, especially if you or anyone else is hurt, this could jeopardize the police officer's trust in who really is at-fault.
  • Do call an attorney. If your insurance company isn't cooperating or the police haven't found the person who left the scene of the accident retaining an attorney can help.

Call the Don Turner Legal Team today if you've been in a hit and run. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling our law firm at 770-594-1777, or contact us online.

How do I file a claim after being in a hit and run?

If you're able to identify the person who hit you and are able to retain their insurance information, you will be able to file a claim with their car insurance company. However, if you are unable to identify the person who hit you, then will have to contact your car insurance company to see how the damage and medical bills can be covered. Georgia is one of six states that does not allow for one's uninsured motorists policy to cover their property damage if they have been involved in a hit and run. (Source: http://www.dmv.org/tips-for-handling-a-hit-and-run-driver-claim.php)

If your car insurance doesn't cooperate with you or is making it difficult to receive help after being in a hit and run, call an attorney or else you might be forced to pay out of pocket for something you didn't do.  

What happens if I was the driver who left the scene of an accident?

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident range from misdemeanor to felony. If you are seen leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage and no serious injury or fatalities, the penalties are:

         First Offense

  • $300 to $1,000 fine
  • Subject to suspension of license or probation
  • Imprisonment up to 12 months

         Second Offense within Five Years

  • $600 to $1,000 fine
  • Subject to suspension of license or probation
  • Imprisonment up to 12 months

         Third Offense within Five Years

  • $1,000 fine
  • Subject to suspension of license or probation
  • Imprisonment up to 12 months

If you leave the scene of the accident and someone involved in the accident is seriously injured or has been killed, you will be charged with a felony and will be imprisoned for one to five years.

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