A car crash is a terrible experience. When someone hits you and leaves, it can make the experience even more horrible. According to the American Automotive Association (AAA) research foundation, the U.S. has a hit-and-run accident roughly once per minute. Being involved in a hit-and-run accident is overwhelming, so, if you aren’t sure what to do if you find yourself in this situation, keep reading.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
If you’ve ever been in a vehicle collision, the anxiety you might feel could come from fear and worry that you’re in danger or that your vehicle is damaged beyond repair. Will you recover from your injuries? How much will all this cost? The unpredictability of the experience is part of what makes it so terrible. For most people, the experience is less frightening and stressful once you know everyone is safe. Discovering you and your passengers are unharmed is a weight lifted. Once you know you’re safe, exchanging information with the other party involved takes your mind off some of the financial aspects of being involved in a collision. You know that if the accident wasn’t your fault and now you, have all the necessary information to use later for vehicle repairs. Imagine how much more stressful an automobile accident would be if you were unconscious and awoke to find the other driver had left the scene without rendering aid or waiting to exchange insurance and contact information.
Anytime a person involved in a crash leaves before rendering aid, exchanging information with others involved in the crash, or contacting law enforcement to report the incident, it is considered a hit-and-run accident. Victims involved in hit-and-runs might be in a car, on a bike, or traveling on foot. Regardless, Georgia law considers it a crime to leave the scene without contacting law enforcement.
Three Tips for How to Handle a Hit and Run Accident
As soon as you’ve been involved in an accident, your first priority should be to ensure that you and those around you are safe. If necessary, take immediate steps to render aid to the injured. The best way to do this is to contact law enforcement for medical assistance. When you’re involved in a serious situation like a collision, emotions will be high, and it can be difficult to think clearly. However, acting quickly is important; every moment counts after an accident.
- Call 911. If you are able to access your phone, call emergency services. Render aid to others if you are capable.
- Document everything! If you feel safe, you can use your phone to capture video or photos of the car that hit you before it can leave. You can try to document license plates and the address of the accident site. Take as many pictures and videos as possible. Speak with everyone you notice at the scene who may have been a witness to the incident. Ask for contact information. It’ll be difficult to know what’s important, but time is limited. Physical evidence at the scene will deteriorate rapidly as more people arrive, vehicles are moved, and the injured are either taken to the hospital or released to leave the scene. Don’t leave the scene.
- Once you’ve called emergency services, you must wait for them to arrive. Leaving the scene is illegal. If a driver fails to remain at the scene, they could face serious consequences. Leaving the scene is a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a fine. If you’re convicted on hit-and-run charges, your license can be suspended, and your vehicle impounded. Even if the other party in your accident has left, that doesn’t permit you to leave.
Insurance Issues Cause Many Hit-and-Run Incidents
The number one reason drivers leave the scene of an accident is lack of insurance. If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident and you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance may provide coverage for your injuries and damages. If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident and the other driver left the scene and can’t be identified, you may have to cover the expenses from the accident out of your own pocket. If you have insurance coverage to help mitigate damages, you could be compensated by your insurance company. Call your insurance provider as soon as you are allowed to leave the scene of the accident. The sooner you contact your provider, the better.
If you need help working with your insurance provider or the other driver is located in your case, call (404) 969-1284 today to schedule an appointment. We may be able to help you recover damages from your accident.