After a car accident, drivers have a duty to stop, see if the occupants of the other vehicle need medical attention, and exchange contact and insurance information. Unfortunately, not all drivers uphold this duty of care. Some drivers flee the scene of an accident in order to avoid liability—committing a crime known as a hit and run.
If you are in a hit-and-run car accident in Augusta, it is important to take steps to keep yourself safe and preserve as much evidence as possible. If law enforcement is able to identify the at-fault driver, you could file a claim against him or her for your injuries.
After a hit and run, do not attempt to chase after the fleeing driver. This can be extremely dangerous and put you at risk of additional harm. Instead, try to memorize as much information about the vehicle as you can and pull over in a safe location immediately.
Once you are in a safe location, take notes about the vehicle. Write down any details as you remember, including the color, make, model, or the license plate number. Even a partial license plate number can be helpful. If you remember any details about the driver, such as his or her age, gender, and physical description, write them down as well.
As soon as you finish your notes, call the police and wait at the scene. When speaking with the dispatcher, he or she may ask questions about the driver, such as the vehicle description and what direction the driver was traveling. Provide as much information to the dispatcher and the responding officer as you can.
If you can move around the accident site without further injury, document evidence at the scene. Take photographs of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the area around the accident. Save all physical evidence, including damaged possessions and clothing.
If there are any witnesses at the scene, ask them if they saw the crash and if they saw anything that could help you identify the driver. You can also ask if you could collect their contact information for use in your future case.
After any accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as you can. You should go to the hospital or doctor even if you do not feel injured; you may have internal or underlying injuries that could lead to serious complications without treatment. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and save all documents you receive; your medical records will serve as valuable evidence in your future claim.
Once you seek medical attention, contact a Georgia car accident attorney to discuss your legal options. Although Georgia is a fault accident state that requires at-fault drivers to pay for their victims’ damages, you may still have options for compensation after a hit and run.
You could file a first-party claim under your own insurance, if you have certain policies such as uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Georgia does not require motorists to purchase UM/UIM coverage, but many companies build these supplemental policies into their insurance policies. If you have this coverage, you could recover compensation for your losses even if you cannot identify the at-fault party.
Your attorney can explain your legal options and help you understand your optimal path to compensation. As soon as you receive treatment for your injuries, contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your case.