In every state it's a crime to leave the scene of an accident. Georgia's hit and run laws stipulate the duties of a driver and possible penalties for drivers who violate the law. Victims should understand what to do after this type of accident.
How Georgia Law Defines a Hit and Run Accident
The law states that drivers have a duty to stop or return to the scene of the collision. If the crash results in injury or death, the driver must immediately stop at or near the scene of the accident. A failure to do so would constitute as a hit-and run.
Besides stopping at the scene of an accident, drivers must provide certain types of information:
- address; and
- registration number of the vehicle driven.
And if requested by the driver or an occupant of the vehicle involved in the collision, drivers must provide their driver's license number.
Drivers must render aid to anyone injured in the crash. This generally includes call 9-1-1 and requesting emergency services to transport the injured individual to the hospital.
Misdemeanor Penalties in a Georgia Hit and Run Accident
Drivers face a misdemeanor charge for a hit and run, as long as no one suffered serious or fatal injuries. Fines can range between $300 and $1,000. It's also possible to face up to 12 months imprisonment. With regard to his/her license, it could also include a stay, suspension or probation.
Drivers who leave the scenes of accidents that result in serious or fatal injuries face felony charges. Imprisonment could be from one to five years.
Of course, if the driver is caught, the injured victim or the victim's family could also pursue legal action against the hit and run driver. To protect a future claim, it's important to know what to do after a hit and run accident in Atlanta.
What to Do after a Hit and Run Accident In Georgia
Get as much information about the other vehicle as possible. Make note of it or ask someone else to record the details. A license plate number makes it easier to track down the driver. But even without that, a description of the vehicle can help.
A description of the vehicle includes:
- damage; and
- other distinguishing marks (e.g., rust).
Also write down anything about the driver or passengers in the vehicle. A description of the people can sometimes help in finding the responsible party.
Write down the time of the accident and the location. Note what direction and street the driver fled. Also, get contact information from any witnesses.
Call the police and request a copy of the police report. Although there might not be a lot of information you can provide, a police report can help when filing an insurance claim.
Get photographs of your damaged vehicle. Take pictures of damaged property (i.e., light pole or fence) and debris (i.e., broken glass or vehicle parts). Photograph anything else of relevance, such as tire marks.
If the other driver is caught, file a claim with his/her insurance company. Contact your own insurer as well; you may be able to recover from your uninsured motorist coverage or other types of coverage on your policy. Look over your policy for options that may be available.
Seek Legal Council After A Hit And Run
Regardless of whether the driver gets caught, it's a good idea to seek legal advice if a hit and run results in serious or fatal injuries. An attorney may gather any evidence available and perform an investigation. Or the attorney might use the information later if the police end up locating the driver. This could allow for the recovery of damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
For a victim it could mean compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish and more. For the family of a loved one killed, it could allow the filing of a wrongful death claim. Some of the damages may include medical costs, funeral expenses, loss of consortium and more.
Hit And Run Victims Should Contact A Georgia Car Accident Attorney
Call attorney Jason R. Schultz if you are in or around Atlanta and were in an accident in which another driver violated Georgia's hit and run laws. Call us at 404-474-0804 or set up a consultation by contacting us online.