How to Handle a Georgia Hit and Run Accident
Posted in Blog on June 20, 2019
Hit and run refers to a car accident that causes damage and a driver leaves the scene of the accident. That driver leaves without making a report of the incident to authorities or providing their contact information. It does not matter if the driver caused the accident. Everyone involved must remain at the scene until excused by law enforcement, or the direct exchange of information between drivers finishes up.
Hit and run victims deal with shock, disbelief and confusion when someone leaves the scene of the accident. Even without injuries, a victim of a hit and run feels violated and betrayed. Knowing how to handle a hit and run accident in Georgia beforehand adds some peace of mind in a difficult situation.
- Those who remain at the scene should stay calm. The situation is stressful enough already.
- No one should attempt to pursue the fleeing driver. This is dangerous and causes more accidents. Fleeing drivers break the law. Pursuing a criminal is not the responsibility of citizens.
- Someone at the scene should call 911 immediately. As soon as someone flees the scene, the criminal act requires the immediate intervention of law enforcement. The 911 operator requests details of the accident that can help the case later. The person making the call should answer those questions. If they are unable to answer the operator’s questions, passing the phone to another person on the scene can help.
- Everyone involved in an accident must legally remain at the scene. Victims face criminal charges if they leave an accident scene, too. Everyone needs to stay put until law enforcement arrives.
- Anyone not injured should begin to document as much as possible. Witnesses or those involved directly can make notes on paper or in their phones. Details such as the make, model, color and license number of the fleeing vehicle help. A description of the driver or passengers also helps.
- Non-injured parties should identify witnesses and collect their contact information. This helps the investigating officers, the insurance company, and the attorney.
- Drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents must provide reasonable assistance to those injured in the accident.
- The remaining party must file an insurance claim. If the driver who fled the scene resurfaces, a victim has access to the driver’s insurance information. In cases where drivers have no liability coverage, or they cannot be located, a victim still has recourse. A claim filed with the victim’s insurer on their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage offers financial recovery options.
- The Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program also compensates hit and run victims.
Georgia Law on Hit and Run Accidents
The state law in Georgia requires vehicle drivers involved in an accident to act with due care. This includes stopping to find individuals who sustained injuries and seeking out the owner of any property damaged. Those involved in the accident can directly exchange their contact information or report the incident to the authorities.
Sometimes the owner of the property damaged is somewhere else. Then, the driver leaves a note to the owner that describes the accident and subsequently files a report of the accident to law enforcement.
The Prosecution of Hit and Run Accidents
In Georgia, the drivers who leave the scene in hit and run accident face prosecution as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanor Prosecution for Hit and Run Accidents
Misdemeanor prosecution for hit and runs in Georgia involve minor traffic accidents without physical injuries. Penalties range from restitution and fines to jail time.
Felony Prosecution for Hit and Run Accidents
Felony prosecution for hit and runs in Georgia involve traffic accidents with bodily injury or death. Penalties usually mean a prison sentence.
Compensation for victims of hit and run accidents include lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.