What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Atlanta

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Nathan Whittenburg

Owner & Attorney - Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer, Nathan Whittenburg, you can do so here.

Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Were You Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident in Atlanta, GA?

On this page, we’ll go over What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Atlanta, the concept of uninsured motorist coverage, how an Atlanta personal injury attorney can help in negotiations with the insurance company, and much more.

An Overview of Hit-and-Run Accidents in Atlanta

In 2021, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported 1,802 fatal hit-and-run cases involving pedestrians across the United States.

In Georgia, hit-and-run accidents remain rampant and continue to cause deaths, property damage, and severe injuries.

In 2018, the state ranked fourth with the highest number of hit-and-run fatalities in the country.

These numbers are alarming and highlight the need for drivers to be cautious on the road and know what to do in case they get involved in a hit-and-run accident.

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Understanding what you should do after a hit-and-run accident in Atlanta can significantly affect your chances of receiving compensation for damages and injuries.

If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident in Atlanta, there still may be avenues to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

Reach out to the Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a car accident claim.

Table of Contents

What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

Experiencing a hit-and-run accident can be shocking and disorienting, but it’s crucial to stay focused and act quickly.

If you’re involved in a hit-and-run car accident in Georgia, you need to remember these five general steps to ensure your safety and improve your chance of holding the negligent driver responsible.

The five steps include:

  1. Ensure your safety
  2. Call 911 right away
  3. Get a police report
  4. Document the accident if you can
  5. Look for any witnesses

Ensure Your Safety

Your safety and the safety of others is the top priority.

Immediately after the accident, quickly check yourself and any passengers for injuries.

If you or anyone else is seriously hurt, try to move as little as possible until help arrives.

If you can move safely, check the surroundings to ensure there are no immediate dangers, such as oncoming traffic or hazards from the accident scene.

If you or your passengers didn’t sustain any significant injuries or your car wasn’t severely damaged, move to a safer spot to avoid disrupting the ongoing traffic.

Call 911 Right Away

Once you’ve assessed your immediate safety, call 911 without delay.

Inform the operator that you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Provide your location, describe any injuries, and give as much detail as possible about the incident.

The faster you report the accident, the sooner emergency services can arrive to provide necessary medical assistance and begin the investigation.

Even if your injuries are minor, it’s still important to have a professional look at you.

Some injuries have a delayed onset, and medical records will be crucial evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim.

Get a Police Report

In Atlanta, obtaining a police report is essential for any hit-and-run accident.

The police report is an official incident record and will be crucial for any legal or insurance claims.

When the officers arrive, provide them with all the information you have, including the time and location of the accident, descriptions of the fleeing vehicle, and any other relevant details.

Be honest and thorough in your account to ensure the report is accurate.

Document the Accident if You Can

If you are physically able and it’s safe to do so, start documenting the accident scene.

Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, any visible injuries, and the surrounding area.

These photos can provide valuable evidence for your insurance claim and any potential legal action.

If possible, note as many details as you can remember about the fleeing vehicle, such as the make, model, color, and license plate number.

Evidence gathering is much easier if you recorded the accident on a dash cam, and it would be faster if you caught the fleeing vehicle’s plate number on video.

Look for Any Witnesses

Witnesses can provide critical information that can help identify the hit-and-run driver.

Look around the area to see if anyone saw the accident.

If you find witnesses, ask for their contact information and if they would be willing to provide a statement to the police.

Witness testimonies can significantly strengthen your case by offering independent accounts of the incident.

Taking these immediate steps after a hit-and-run accident is vital for ensuring your safety, securing crucial evidence, and laying the groundwork for future legal or insurance processes.

Act quickly, stay calm, and gather as much information as possible to protect your rights and interests.

Hit-and-Runs Are a Serious Crime in Georgia

In Georgia, hit-and-run accidents are taken very seriously.

The law mandates strict penalties for drivers who flee the scene of an accident, reflecting the severe nature of this offense.

Understanding the legal requirements for reporting these incidents is crucial for all drivers.

Reporting Hit-and-Run Accidents in Georgia

Georgia law requires drivers involved in an accident to stop at or return to the scene immediately.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, it’s essential to report the incident to the police immediately.

Failure to do so can have significant legal repercussions and may impact your ability to file an insurance claim.

Hit-and-run accidents in Georgia are generally considered a misdemeanor, but certain circumstances could turn these cases into a felony, such as when someone dies or sustains severe injuries.

When prosecuted as a misdemeanor, the fleeing driver could face a maximum $1,000 fine and a year of incarceration.

When charged as a felony, the penalties could increase to a minimum of a $1,000 fine and years of imprisonment.

In addition to the penalty fine and prison time, the fleeing driver could also face driver’s license suspension.

The length of this suspension varies according to the severity of the crime.

As for not reporting the hit-and-run incident, the non-reporting driver could receive five points from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a misdemeanor charge for violating the GA Code § 40-6-273.

The Power of a Police Report

A police report is a critical document in the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident.

This crucial report serves multiple purposes that are vital for both legal and insurance proceedings.

When dealing with insurance companies, a police report is often required to process your claim.

It provides an official account of the accident, which can help validate your claim and expedite the process.

If you decide to pursue legal action against the hit-and-run driver, the police report becomes essential evidence as it contains details collected by law enforcement, which can support your case in court.

The police report contains crucial information such as the accident’s time, date, and location, witness statements, and any available evidence about the fleeing vehicle.

This thorough documentation can be indispensable for both your legal and insurance proceedings.

Having a police report can also provide a sense of security and support, as it indicates that the incident has been officially recorded and is being investigated by authorities.

The Challenges Encountered in Hit-And-Run Cases

Hit-and-run accidents are some of the most complicated personal injury cases because of particular challenges preventing the victim from holding the negligent driver accountable and recovering just compensation.

Victims face numerous hurdles, from the difficulty of identifying the at-fault driver to navigating the intricate legal landscape.

Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help overcome these challenges by using various investigative techniques and leveraging their expertise.

Difficulty in Identifying the At-Fault Driver

One of the primary challenges in hit-and-run cases is the difficulty in identifying the at-fault driver.

When the responsible party flees the scene, they leave little information that the victim and authorities can use to track them down.

Unlike standard car accidents where the exchange of information is accessible, hit-and-runs lack this critical step, making it hard to pinpoint who was responsible.

Personal injury lawyers may be able to step in to bridge this gap, using various investigative techniques to identify the fleeing driver.

Accessing surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras can provide crucial visual evidence.

Lawyers might also employ technology to track license plate numbers, such as enhancing video footage to read a blurry plate or using witness descriptions in conjunction with public records.

Collaboration with local authorities is also key, as police resources and expertise can significantly help identify the perpetrator.

Complexity in Claiming Damages

Claiming damages in hit-and-run cases is inherently more complex than in other motor vehicle accidents.

The primary reason is the absence of the at-fault party, which leaves victims without a direct source from whom to claim compensation.

This situation could necessitate alternative approaches to securing financial recovery.

In Georgia, victims might turn to their own insurance policies, particularly if they have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.

UM coverage can compensate for medical expenses, property damage, and other losses.

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging as they may dispute the extent of the damages or the applicability of the coverage.

The role of a personal injury lawyer becomes vital here.

Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies, counter lowball offers, and ensure the victim receives fair compensation for their damages.

Lacking or Limited Evidence

Evidence is crucial in any legal case, but obtaining sufficient evidence in hit-and-run accidents can be particularly challenging.

The fleeing driver’s absence often results in a lack of immediate eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, or documentation.

Without these elements, building a solid case becomes complicated.

To combat this, personal injury lawyers deploy various strategies to gather evidence.

They may seek out additional witnesses who might have seen the accident or the fleeing vehicle.

Lawyers also gather and analyze physical evidence from the scene, such as debris, tire marks, or paint transfers.

They might engage experts in accident reconstruction to provide a detailed analysis of how the accident occurred, thereby strengthening the victim’s case with credible and scientific evidence.

Potential for an Uninsured Motorist

Even if the at-fault driver is identified, there is a potential challenge if the driver is uninsured.

Although drivers are required to carry liability insurance in Georgia, not everyone complies with this law.

An uninsured at-fault driver can leave victims with limited options for recovering damages directly from them.

In such scenarios, the victim’s own insurance policy, specifically uninsured motorist coverage, becomes crucial.

However, making a claim under this coverage can still be challenging.

Insurance companies may contest the claim, arguing over the coverage details or the extent of the damages.

Similar to how an experienced attorney will handle the opposing party’s insurance negotiation, the victim’s attorney will also work with the victim’s insurance provider for fair compensation.

Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Georgia

In Georgia, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can provide crucial financial protection when the at-fault driver is unidentified or lacks adequate insurance.

Understanding how UM coverage works and its implications can help drivers better prepare for unexpected situations.

Scope and Limitation of the Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia is designed to compensate for injuries and damages caused by drivers who either do not have insurance or whose insurance is insufficient to cover the full extent of the damages (underinsured).

UM coverage typically includes two types:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): This covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs when the at-fault driver has no insurance.
    • The minimum coverage requirement for this is $25,000 per injured person or death or $50,000 per accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This covers the cost of repairs to your vehicle and other property damaged in the accident.
    • The minimum coverage requirement for UMPD is $25,000 per accident.

It’s important to note that the scope of UM coverage is subject to the policy limits chosen by the policyholder.

These limits determine the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a claim.

Some policies may have specific exclusions or conditions that can affect coverage, such as requirements for reporting the accident within a certain time frame or providing evidence that the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured.

What Will Happen If an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Injures You?

If you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver or involved in a hit-and-run accident in Georgia, having UM coverage can significantly impact your ability to recover damages positively.

Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can make the claims process more straightforward and potentially faster, as you may not have to wait for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to investigate or settle their liability.

If you don’t have UM coverage or the at-fault driver is identified but uninsured, you may have to rely on other types of insurance, such as:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP coverage compensates for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay): MedPay covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of fault.
  • Collision Coverage: If you have collision coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, it can cover the damages to your vehicle sustained in a hit-and-run accident.

How an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

Hit-and-run accidents can leave victims feeling helpless and overwhelmed, especially when faced with the prospect of pursuing a personal injury claim.

Hiring the right lawyer for your personal injury case can significantly affect its outcome.

Steps in which an Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help include:

  • Gathering Evidence: Lawyers work to collect any available evidence from the accident scene, including witness statements, surveillance footage, and physical evidence such as debris or skid marks.
  • Utilizing Resources: With access to investigative resources and expertise, lawyers can use techniques such as accident reconstruction to piece together the sequence of events and establish liability.
  • Coordinating with Authorities: Lawyers collaborate with law enforcement agencies to coordinate investigations and leverage their resources to identify the at-fault driver.
  • Advocating for Fair Compensation: Lawyers negotiate with your insurance provider to ensure you receive fair and adequate compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, a wrongful death claim, property damage, and other losses.
  • Navigating Legal Processes: Lawyers guide their clients through each stage of the legal process, from filing a lawsuit to attending hearings and trial proceedings.
  • Advocating for Maximum Compensation: Lawyers aggressively advocate for their clients’ rights, seeking maximum compensation for their injuries, damages, and losses.

Having experienced legal representation can level the playing field and ensure that hit-and-run victims have a strong advocate fighting for their interests in court.

Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm: Talk to Our Personal Injury Attorney Today

Despite stringent regulations to protect Georgia drivers from hit-and-run accidents, they still persist.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit-and-run accident, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced personal injury attorney at Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm.

Our team understands the process of personal injury claims for hit and run accidents, and we may be able to help you seek compensation.

Contact us for a free consultation, or use the chatbot on this page for an instant case evaluation.

Nathan Whittenburg, our founder, handles a variety of Atlanta personal injury cases and understands what victims are going through.

We have made it our goal to recover compensation for people injured at no fault of their own, covering medical bills, lost income, and other damages incurred.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the first steps to take after a hit-and-run accident in Atlanta?

    After a hit-and-run accident in Atlanta, ensure your safety and seek medical attention for any injuries.

    Document as many details as possible about the fleeing vehicle and the accident scene, and report the incident to the police to obtain a police report.

    Contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident and begin the claims process.

  • Can I file a claim if the other driver is not identified in a hit-and-run accident?

    Yes, you can file a personal injury claim under your uninsured motorist coverage if the other driver is not identified.

    This coverage is designed to compensate for damages and injuries when the at-fault party is unknown or lacks sufficient insurance.

    Consulting with an Atlanta personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process and negotiate with your insurance provider.

  • How can uninsured motorist coverage help after a hit-and-run accident?

    Uninsured motorist coverage can provide financial compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, and other losses resulting from a hit-and-run accident.

    This type of auto insurance steps in when the at-fault driver cannot be identified or does not have adequate insurance.

    Reviewing your car insurance coverage and consulting with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer can clarify your options for recovering compensation.

  • What role does a personal injury attorney play in hit-and-run cases?

    A personal injury attorney can assist by gathering evidence, such as surveillance footage or witness statements, to support your claim.

    They can help you navigate the complexities of filing a claim with your insurance company and ensure you receive fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

    An experienced personal injury attorney will represent your best interests and handle negotiations with the insurance provider on your behalf.

  • What is Covered by Personal Injury Compensation?

    Individuals injured in car accidents at no fault of their own may be able to seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

    Uninsured motorist coverage can help cover these costs if the hit-and-run driver is not found.

    Consulting with an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help you understand the full extent of your compensation options and ensure your claim is handled properly, securing a fair settlement for your injuries and losses.

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Have A Case?

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Click below to get a free, instant case evaluation and find out if you qualify for legal action immediately.

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About Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm

Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm specializes in personal injury cases across Georgia, including motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful death claims. Our experienced Georgia injury attorney works on a contingency fee basis, ensuring you only pay legal fees once we secure your settlement or verdict.

Contact our experienced legal team by phone or visit our website for a instant case evaluation. Trust Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm for dedicated legal representation in Georgia.

Do You
Have A Case?

Our firm specializes in personal injury cases across the state of Georgia, working on a contingency fee basis to ensure the best possible service for each client.

Click below to get a free, instant case evaluation and find out if you qualify for legal action immediately.

Would you like our help?


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