A hit and run, or simply speaking, a driver causing harm to another person and/or their vehicle and then leaving the site before the issue can be resolved, is, unfortunately, a very common scenario, not just in Georgia, but across the country. Leaving the scene of an accident without any care for the other person involved in the accident or their property is absolutely wrong and immoral. More importantly, it shows an intent to not share blame for the damage caused, and hence is considered a crime in the state of Georgia. In fact, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a greater offense than a DUI ticket.
If convicted of a hit and run case, the driver may face up to 4 months of license suspension. Moreover, it will permanently get stuck on their record and can create issues further down the line in their life. That is, to say if they do not have any priors on their name. Previous demeanors can land a person a hard suspension, meaning they lose their license and permit permanently.
In spite of this, if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a hit and run case, don’t be surprised. Hit and runs are extremely common in today’s day and age. A 2015 study by the Foundation of Traffic Safety found that there an estimated 737,100 hit-and-run cases in 2015 within the US, roughly translating to a crash happening every 43 seconds.
With such high occurrence, what is one supposed to do after facing a hit and run scenario? Here are some basic ways to secure yourself in a potential hit and run situation.
1. Get Your Car Insurance in Place
Georgia consumers must have automobile liability insurance for at least the minimum limits required by law to drive on the Georgia public roads and highways. Per the Georgia Department of Insurance, the minimum limits of liability required under Georgia law are Bodily injury Liability of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence and Property Damage liability of $25,000 per occurrence. Liability insurance is insurance that pays damages to others, on behalf of an insured, for injury to or damaged property of others, up to the policy limit, which an insured may have caused by his negligence or may protect him against claims made against him by someone who alleges he was at-fault.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance may also be included on a policy. Although Georgia requires all drivers to have “liability insurance” to drive, there are unfortunately those that either do not obey the law or may have unknowingly allowed their insurance to cancel. Uninsured Motorist would protect you when that other “uninsured” driver causes an accident which damages your vehicle or injures you or your passengers. This coverage is for protection of the policyholder's loss or damages inflicted in that accident.
This is obvious, but must be mentioned. Make sure you pay your policy payments on time every month and also ensure you always have a valid license and registration. That way, you hold an advantageous position in any event.
2. Keep an Emergency Kit
A basic car toolkit, along with food, water, and a basic first aid kit is essential to keep you calm in the aftermath of a hit and run accident. Make sure to have a phone available to call 911 and also to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. Make sure to keep this emergency kit handy in your car at all times.
3. Call 911 and Report, Immediately
Without creating confusion, fear or panic, call 911 and calmly report the incident. Share as many details as you can with the officers looking into the case, take pictures and notes that you think convey important information about the crash. It is also wise to have your personal injury attorney as the second call you make after 911. If possible, get the license plate of the car that hit you.
4. Get Medical Assistance Immediately
Ensure you and the other people involved in the accident receive the necessary medical assistance to prevent any long-term injury. While the other driver has escaped the scene, taking care of your own self is important to be able to pursue a case against this person. It is imperative to have your injuries documented as soon as possible.
5. Evaluate the Merits of a Case
By this time, you should have enough facts and information, including a complete police report and the advice of a trusted lawyer to decide the merits of pursuing a hit and run charge against the accused. Work with your lawyer to understand what a rightful settlement in your case might look like, and use their experience to make a decision whether to pursue the case or drop charges.
Let a Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer Help You
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer stands as one of the most important aspects of prepping for a possible hit and run scenario in the future. Melman Law Group has experienced attorneys dedicated to managing accident-related cases in metro Atlanta. Our team of professionals provide top notch service so you can focus on feeling better. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.