Do I Still Have a Case if I Was Involved in a Hit and Run?
June 1, 2023
Car accidents can be traumatizing, but things can be even worse if you are a victim of a hit-and-run. If you suffer damages from an accident you didn't cause, typically, the law in Georgia allows you the opportunity to recover your losses from the at-fault driver.
However, in a hit-and-run, you miss the key ingredient of knowing who that driver is, and this can be a very frustrating experience. Fortunately, you still have the right to seek compensation when you're involved in a hit-and-run accident.
If you’re seeking legal help in or near Macon or Savannah, Georgia, contact us today at The Law Offices of Peter Meyer, P.C. We’ll be happy to get you set up with a free consultation to discuss your options.
Georgia Is a Fault Insurance State
First, it's important to know that Georgia is a "fault insurance" state. This means that the driver who causes an accident (or their insurance company) has to pay for the damages resulting from the collision.
However, in a hit-and-run, things are a bit different—because you don't know who the at-fault driver is. So, can you file an accident claim after a hit-and-run? Here's what you need to know.
Requirements When an Accident Occurs in Georgia
When a car accident occurs in Georgia, certain requirements must be met. Drivers are required to stop their vehicles at the scene of the accident, render aid if necessary, and exchange contact and insurance information. If someone leaves the scene without doing these things, they may face criminal charges in addition to the civil damages the victim may be able to recover.
Your Options for Filing a Claim After a Hit-and-Run
If you're involved in a hit-and-run accident, the first thing you should do is call 911. Report the details of the accident and provide any information you have, no matter how small. The police may be able to track down the perpetrator. If you're not able to identify the driver who hit you, alert your own insurance company as soon as possible.
While you have the right to sue the person who caused the accident, this is only possible if you know who that person is. If you don't have the name of the driver, you can still file a claim with your own insurance company via the uninsured or underinsured motorist provision.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Provision
As the name suggests, UM/UIM coverage is designed to protect drivers who have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
In Georgia, UM/UIM coverage is mandatory, meaning that every motorist must have a minimum coverage limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury. If you have UM/UIM coverage, you may still be able to recover damages from your own insurance company, even if the at-fault driver is unidentified or lacks sufficient insurance coverage.
To pursue compensation through the UM/UIM provision, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. The process can be complex and time-consuming, and it's best to seek the guidance of an experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system, communicate with insurance adjusters, and negotiate for a fair settlement.
Keep in mind that UM/UIM claims have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the accident, so it's important to act quickly.
Steps to Take if You Were in a Hit-and-Run
Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be a terrifying experience. It can leave you feeling helpless, confused, and unsure of what to do next. Here's our advice on what to do after a hit-and-run:
1. Get to Safety & Do Not Pursue the Person Fleeing the Scene
The first thing you should do if you were in a hit-and-run accident is to get to safety. If your car is drivable, move it off the road to avoid causing further accidents. If you are injured or unable to move your car, put on your hazard lights and wait for help to arrive.
Whatever you do, do not pursue the person fleeing the scene of the accident. This can put you in further danger and make it harder for the authorities to track down the other driver.
2. Take Note of as Many Details as Possible
Take note of as many details as possible. This includes the make, model, and color of the car, any unique identifying marks such as bumper stickers or dents, the license plate number, if possible, and the driver's appearance. You should also take note of the details of the crash itself, including the time and location of the accident.
3. Talk to Any Witnesses and Get Their Contact Information
If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information. This can be incredibly helpful in identifying the person who hit you. Witnesses can also provide valuable information about the other driver's behavior, such as whether they appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
4. Notify the Authorities
It is important to report the hit-and-run accident to the authorities as soon as possible. Call 911 or your local police department to report the accident. Be sure to provide them with as many details as possible, including the information you gathered in step two. The police will investigate the hit-and-run accident and do their best to identify the other driver.
5. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Contact your insurance provider to report the accident. Even if you were not at fault, your insurance company can help you file a claim and get your car repaired. Your insurance company can also provide you with guidance on what to do next.
6. Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. We're one of the best car accident attorneys in Macon and Savannah, Georgia, and we want to help.
A car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. They can also help you negotiate with your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company.
Serving the Georgia Community With Vigor
Suffering a hit-and-run accident can be a traumatic experience. The stress can be overwhelming for any accident victim, especially when they are left alone without any idea of where to turn to, or how to protect themselves legally.
At The Law Offices of Peter Meyer, P.C., we understand that this can be a difficult time for you, and we will work hard to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Whether you’re in Macon and Savannah, Georgia, or the neighboring areas like Bibb, Chatham, Twiggs, Dodge, Wheeler, and Bleckley, we're here to help you get through this situation.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We'll give your case gets the attention it deserves.