When you suffer injuries in an Atlanta accident due to the negligence of another driver, you may be able to recover damages with help from an Atlanta car accident lawyer. This applies in scenarios where the at-fault driver stays on the scene of the crash. However, if the other driver flees from the scene, the accident is regarded as a hit-and-run. In such a case, you don’t know who the other driver is, so it is not possible to file a claim for damages unless the identity of the at-fault driver becomes known.
Hit-and-run accidents typically involve pedestrians. This is why the injuries involved in such incidents are more serious as pedestrians are completely unprotected against a speeding vehicle. During 2016, a total of 72 hit-and-run incidents occurred in Georgia. The nationwide figure for the year was 2,049. Of these, 1,229 incidents involved pedestrians.
When you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it is important to know your legal options. As noted above, you can’t just file a claim against the at-fault driver as the driver’s identity is not known. However, you may have recourse to other options which will help you recover compensatory damages. Here are the key steps you should follow after a hit-and-run to ensure your safety and protect your rights.
Things to Do After a Hit-and-Run
Here are the steps to take after a hit-and-run accident:
Notify the Authorities: You must inform the local authorities about the incident at the earliest. This typically involves making a call on 911 and reporting the crash along with its location and other details. This is critically important for many reasons. It brings the crash on record otherwise an insurance company may later claim that the crash didn’t occur in the first place. It also ensures that a police report is filed for the crash. This report is vital in later supporting your claim for damages.
Note Down Important Details: If you are conscious and able after a hit-and-run, make sure you jot down any details you remember regarding the other vehicle involved. Such details may include the make, model, color, registration number, or any other details that may help identify the vehicle later. Once the law enforcement officers reach the crash scene, make sure you share these details with them. These will be immensely helpful in identifying the vehicle and apprehending the driver.
Inform Your Insurance Company: After a hit-and-run accident, you may need to wait for a few days before the police report for the accident becomes available. Once this report is available, it is time for you to file a claim with your insurance company. This typically applies when your auto insurance policy carries coverage for uninsured motorist property damage coverage or collision coverage. More details about these options are provided below.
Get Legal Help: Hit-and-run accidents are different from typical car crashes in that the identity of the at-fault driver is not known. This makes it significantly harder for you, as a hit-and-run victim, to get compensated for your injuries and other losses. At such a time, a good car accident lawyer’s advice and guidance can be immensely useful in helping you explore your options.
How to Get Compensated After a Hit-and-Run?
After a hit-and-run accident, your options for compensation are relatively limited. This is particularly due to the nature of the crash and the fact that the at-fault driver is not known. However, the at-fault driver may eventually be identified. In general, you can seek compensatory damages for a hit-and-run through the following options:
Seek Damages From the At-Fault Driver
This is possible only once the at-fault driver has been identified by the law enforcement officers. When this is the case, you can file a claim for damages with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the driver does not carry insurance, which is often the case in hit-and-run incidents, you can file a civil lawsuit. If the driver has any assets that can be liquidated to cover your losses, a court may issue an order to this effect.
Seek Damages From Your Own Insurance Company
A second option you have after a hit-and-run crash is to file for damages with your own insurer. This is possible when you carry uninsured motorist coverage. Under this coverage, you can seek the damages to cover for losses caused by a hit-and-run driver. Your insurer may balk at paying up the damages which is why you will likely need the help of a lawyer when exploring this option.
Get an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a hit-and-run driver in Atlanta, GA, we can help you. Here at the Greene Legal Group, we can negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your losses. Get in touch today to discuss your Atlanta car accident claim with our lawyers.