Hit & Run Accidents
Car accidents are jarring and unexpected. But that stress is compounded for the victim when the driver who hit them speeds away without pulling over or exchanging information. Causing an accident and fleeing the scene is a cowardly act and against the law. At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we help victims obtain justice after being injured in an accident where the other driver has fled the scene.
Injured in a hit and run accident in the Atlanta area? Call Now 833-4THEWIN.
Hit and Run Statistics in Georgia
In 2019 there were 0ver 24,000 hit and run accidents in the state of Georgia. 35 people died as a result of those accidents and over 5000 were injured. 320 of the accidents were pedestrian related. Nationwide, 60% of people killed are either cyclist or pedestrians and in 20% of those cases the driver fled the scene.
Why Do Some Drivers Flee Accident Scenes?
Despite hefty consequences, some drivers flee the scene of accidents. Sometimes it is because they are driving drunk or impaired. Other times, they do not have car insurance or even a valid driver’s license. The reality is that the majority of hit and run drivers flee the scene because they are guilty of more than bad driving. No matter why a driver decides to run from an accident, the fact is that as the victim of a hit and run, you may have limited options when it comes to your compensation.
In a typical car accident, your injuries, medical bills and lost wages would be covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, if you do not know the identity of the driver or owner, you will only see a financial recovery if you have uninsured motorist insurance coverage.
Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Despite laws forbidding driving without car insurance, there are thousands of drivers out on Georgia roads with no coverage at all. That is why it is always recommended that you carry Uninsured Motorist or Under-Insured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your car insurance policy. UM/UIM coverage ensures that if you are hit by an uninsured driver, you have a reliable option to make yourself whole.
One of the main purposes of UM/UIM coverage is to protect you and provide you coverage when a hit and run driver causes an accident. Those who carry UM/UIM coverage can file a claim on their own policy, in the case of a hit and run accident. Then your insurance company steps in the shoes of the John Doe driver and will pay for your damages.
Types Of UM/UIM Coverage
Most companies that offer liability coverage also offer UM/UIM coverage. You are free to reject this coverage, but if you do, there is a chance you may not be able to recover any money if you were hit by an uninsured driver – especially in a hit and run.
UM coverage comes in two forms — add-on coverage and reduced-by coverage. Add-on coverage allows you to stack the other driver’s liability policy onto your own policy, potentially doubling the amount of coverage you have. Reduced-by insurance is less comprehensive, but for the purposes of a hit-and-run accident or a driver without any insurance at all, they work the same way.
Filing A Claim On An Uninsured Motorist Policy
While some folks think it will be clear sailing since you are filing a claim on your own policy, insurance companies are sticklers for facts. They will force you to prove any injury you have using medical evidence and may deny your claim outright if your claim is not “air-tight” in the insurance company’s eyes. That is why hiring an experienced trial attorney is so important after being involved in a hit and run accident.
The more severely you are injured, the higher the stakes. You may not be able to afford the medical bills, monthly bills, or mortgage and car payments while you are also out of work. A UM/UIM policy is there to ensure you get through that period with your finances intact. For that reason, hiring a personal injury attorney helps to ensure the insurance company honors your claim.
What To Do After A Hit & Run Accident?
First, pull over and be sure that you and everyone in your car is at least temporarily okay. If emergency medical treatment is necessary, do not wait. Getting prompt treatment is a priority.
After a hit and run accident, you need to do everything possible to protect your claim by:
- Do not try to chase the vehicle that hit you
- Taking note of the color, make and model of the car
- Writing down the license plate number – or any portion of it
- Taking note of identifying characteristics of the driver
- Collecting witness information
- Calling 911
- Retain an attorney by calling 678-392-1401
One thing many may think is missing from this list is the task of calling your insurance company to report the claim. As we have stated many times before, under no circumstances should you contact any insurance company regarding the motor vehicle collision. Let an experienced injury attorney navigate the insurance claims process for you, to ensure that you don’t say anything that may hurt your potential claim.
Hiring a Hit and Run Attorney
Filing an insurance claim following a hit and run is complicated and hard to navigate. Due to an inordinate amount of fraud related to hit and run claim, the insurance companies often look with skepticism at these uninsured motorist claims. Thus, you should not report the claim on your own to save time or see if you can handle the claims process yourself. Everything you say is recorded and will be used against you, if possible.
An attorney with experience in hit and run accidents and filing UM claims will know how to proceed. The attorney will obtain the police reports, witness statements, photographs, video, etc. if you were unable to do so due to your injuries.
An attorney will also be able to review you and your family members’ UM coverage to determine how many different policies are available. The mission is always to find any and all avenues of compensation for you, even if the at-fault driver is never found.
If the driver is eventually located, you may file a lawsuit to collect for damages that were not covered by your own UM coverage. When hit and run drivers are located, they can also be sued for punitive damages, which are for the purpose of punishing the wrongdoer.
At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we have the experience and commitment you need to pursue your Uninsured Motorist and Hit & Run claims. Contact us as soon as possible 833-4TheWin for a free case evaluation.