Any car accident is scary. There’s that moment of trying to process what just happened—making sure everyone is okay and taking a first look at the vehicle damages. Usually, if there are no serious injuries, the immediate minutes after a wreck follow a pretty familiar script. The drivers stop, check on each other, call the police, and exchange insurance and contact information. A hit-and-run, however, shakes things up, adding anger, confusion, and shock to the mix of feelings you go through after a wreck.
If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run in Georgia, the first question probably going through your mind is “why?” Why would someone speed off when your passengers or you could be in need of immediate medical help? Why would someone avoid responsibility, risking possible felony charges just to get out of an insurance rate hike? As a car accident attorney in Druid Hills, we’ve seen people leave the scene of an accident for a variety of reasons, but often the driver doesn’t have proper insurance or a valid driver’s license or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes the driver simply panics.
Two types of hit-and-run accidents
Hit-and-run accidents can involve cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. They can be broken into two main types:
- Accidents where the driver fails to stop after hitting another car or making a traffic maneuver causing another driver to crash.
- Accidents where the driver hits a parked car and fails to leave appropriate contact information.
What to do after a hit-and-run in Georgia
After a hit-and-run crash, you’ll want to try to remain as calm as possible. In the heat of the moment, you may be tempted to follow the driver, but this could lead to reckless driving on your part or even a dangerous confrontation. Instead, you’ll want to:
- Stay put and try to recall as many details as you can. What was the make and model of the car? What was its color? Did you spot the license plate number or state? Any details you can recall now will help the police track down the hit-and-run driver and improve your claim with the insurance company.
- Next, you’ll want to call the police and make sure the responding officer fills out an accident report. Having this report on file will mean your claims process should move along faster.
- Take stock of the scene and talk to witnesses. You’ll also want to snap photos of your car, being especially aware of any spots where the other car’s paint has flaked off on your vehicle. In the case of a damaged parked car, this is especially helpful for demonstrating to your insurance company you aren’t committing insurance fraud.
- If you’re injured, you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention, even if you don’t feel badly hurt.
- Before speaking to your insurance company, contact a car accident lawyer in Druid Hills.
If your parked car was damaged, note the time and location and photograph the damages.
Recovering damages after a hit-and-run in Georgia
If the police are able to locate the hit-and-run driver, you may have several options to recoup damages. In some cases, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the driver. If the driver has auto insurance, you may receive a settlement offer, or if you’re uncomfortable with the offer, you may be able to file a Druid Hills auto accident lawsuit.
If the driver doesn’t have insurance, or if the police never find the driver, you still have options. You may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you carry uninsured motorist coverage. Be aware, however, you’ll still want to work with an attorney—just because you’ll be filing a claim with your own insurance company doesn’t mean they’ll have your best interests in mind.