Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | July 26, 2020
A hit-and-run accident injured a young boy and his uncle near Brandywine Street and Bridgewater Street in southwest Atlanta. The two were riding a moped when a car struck them and sped off. The impact of the collision knocked the two from the moped.
Eyewitnesses claim that the vehicle was a white van, possibly a Chevy Astro or a similar van. The crash happened less than 10 miles after they left home. They had planned to ride through the neighborhood.
Christian, who is just seven years old, needed staples and stitches for severe cuts. He was missing teeth and had swollen eyes. His uncle sustained several cuts and a fractured sternum from the hit-and-run accident.
Duty to Stop After an Accident
Georgia’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Code requires all drivers involved in a traffic accident involving death, injuries, or property damage to stop at the accident scene. The code requires drivers to:
- Give the other driver his or her name, address, and registration number of the vehicle
- Display his or her driver’s license, upon request
- Give reasonable aid to injured parties
- Take reasonable steps to contact law enforcement officers and emergency medical services if someone is unconscious, unable to communicate, or dead
If a person leaves the scene of an accident, the person can face criminal charges. When someone is seriously injured or killed, the hit-and-run driver could face felony charges for leaving the accident scene, in addition to other criminal charges.
Who is Responsible for Injuries and Damages in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run driver may leave the accident scene for many reasons. Reasons for leaving the accident scene include:
- No insurance coverage
- Outstanding traffic violations
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Outstanding warrants
- Afraid of consequences
The driver who caused the accident is responsible for damages caused by the collision. If the driver who fled the scene of the accident caused the crash, that driver is responsible for damages and losses. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers may never identify the person who caused the crash and fled the accident scene.
If an at-fault driver is never identified, can the accident victims receive any compensation for their medical bills, loss of income, physical injuries, emotional distress, and pain?
Insurance Coverage in Georgia
Georgia requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates accident victims for damages from a car accident. However, liability insurance does not protect the at-fault driver.
Your liability insurance pays for damages that you cause in a car crash. It does not compensate you for damages caused by another driver.
However, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may receive compensation for injuries, losses, and damages even if the other driver is never identified.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage compensates the insured driver when the driver who caused the automobile accident does not have insurance coverage.
Filing a claim against your uninsured motorist insurance policy can result in compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Decreases in earning capacity
- Loss of quality of life
- Impairments and disabilities
The amount you receive depends on the facts of the case and your policy limits. You must prove that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident. Your insurance provider may still raise defenses, such as comparative fault, to reduce the value of your claim.
Because UM coverage does not guarantee that you will receive compensation for a hit-and-run accident, you might want to talk to a car accident attorney. An attorney can help you gather evidence proving the other driver caused the accident. Your lawyer can also document your injuries and damages to increase the value of your claim.
What Should I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Atlanta?
Stop as close to the accident scene as possible and contact the police. While waiting for the police to arrive, write down everything you remember about the accident. Even the smallest details could provide a lead that identifies the hit-and-run driver.
See a doctor as soon as possible. You must document your injuries for a car accident claim. Even though you may be filing a claim with your insurance company under your UM coverage, you must still provide documentation of your injuries and other damages.
Before signing a release, making a statement, or accepting a settlement agreement, it can be helpful to discuss your case with an attorney. If you are unsure whether your insurance company offered a fair amount, get a legal opinion. Once you sign a settlement agreement, you cannot demand more money for your claim, even if you discover you have additional damages.