Understanding Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be distressing, but when the responsible driver flees the scene, it can be especially unsettling. Known as a hit and run, these incidents can leave victims feeling overwhelmed and unsure of their next steps.
Georgia’s Definition of a Hit and Run
In Georgia, a hit and run occurs when a driver involved in an accident causing injury, death, or property damage fails to stop and provide their details, as required by law. This act is not only inconsiderate, but it’s illegal. When involved in such situations, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your rights and how to pursue them.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Scene?
There are numerous reasons why a driver might choose to flee after an accident in Georgia. Some common reasons include fear of legal consequences, lack of valid insurance, or possibly having outstanding warrants. Understanding the potential motivations can offer some context, but it doesn’t excuse the action.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run in Atlanta
Becoming a victim of a hit and run can be jarring and disorienting, but taking the right steps afterward can significantly impact your ability to secure justice and compensation. Morain & Buckelew, LLC is here to help you through every step of the process. With our assistance, you can avoid pitfalls, ensure insurance companies don’t take advantage, and regain a sense of control. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what you should do:
- Prioritize Safety First: Before anything else, make sure you and any other occupants of your vehicle are safe. If possible, move your vehicle to a safer location, such as a parking lot or the side of the road, to avoid causing further accidents or getting hit again.
- Seek Medical Attention Immediately: Even if you believe you’re unharmed, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Some injuries, especially internal ones or those related to trauma, might not manifest symptoms immediately. By getting a medical examination, you’re not only ensuring your well-being but also creating a record that could be pivotal later on.
- Document Everything: Use your smartphone or any available camera to take pictures of the scene, damages to your vehicle, and any injuries. If the fleeing vehicle left behind paint marks or any parts, photograph those as well.
- Gather Information: While memories are fresh, jot down everything you can recall about the fleeing vehicle: color, make, model, license plate number (even if it’s partial), and any distinctive features. Additionally, note the time and place of the incident.
- Seek Witnesses: Often, bystanders or other drivers might have witnessed the incident. Approach them, ask if they saw what happened, and if they’re willing, gather their contact details. Their testimonies might prove invaluable in building your case.
- Contact the Atlanta Police: It’s essential to report the hit and run to the Atlanta police. Their official report will be a crucial document if you decide to pursue a legal course or claim with your insurance company.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Even if you hope the perpetrator will be found, don’t delay informing your insurance company about the incident. They may have specific timelines within which you must report such incidents, and being proactive can ensure your claim isn’t jeopardized.
- Maintain All Records: From medical bills to repair estimates and from police reports to communication with insurance, maintain an organized file. This comprehensive record will aid in any legal proceedings and insurance claims.
Recovering Damages After a Hit and Run
Even if the fleeing driver isn’t located, all hope isn’t lost. Georgia residents can often turn to their insurance policies, specifically the uninsured motorist coverage, for potential compensation. This type of coverage can be instrumental in covering medical bills, property damage, and other related costs.
The Role of Morain & Buckelew, LLC, Your Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer
While you might feel alone after a hit and run, you’re not. Teaming up with a dedicated personal injury lawyer in Atlanta can make all the difference. An attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring you understand your options and rights. They can also work closely with insurance companies, ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. Experiencing a hit and run accident can be traumatic, but remember, you don’t have to face it alone. At Morain & Buckelew, LLC, we believe in standing by our clients through these challenging times. If you’ve been a victim of a hit and run in Atlanta, Georgia, we are here to assist. Call us today at (404) 448-3146.