A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver strikes another vehicle or pedestrian and then doesn’t stop to render aid. Unfortunately, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that both hit-and-run crashes and fatalities are on the rise in America.
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 2,049 hit-and-run fatalities. This is the highest number ever recorded. So what should Georgia drivers know about these accidents, and when should you call an attorney?
Georgia Hit-and-Run Laws
Like other states, Georgia has specific laws concerning hit-and-run incidents. Georgia hit-and-run laws state that, generally, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident must stop and help any injured persons. Then, the drivers should report the accident to law enforcement.
Punishment Under Hit-and-Run Laws in Georgia
When discussing Georgia laws on hit-and-run accidents, you may wonder about the consequences potential consequences. A hit-and-run driver can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Hit and runs relating to minor accidents with no physical injuries are likely to be classified as misdemeanors under Georgia hit-and-run laws. Penalties range from fines and restitution to jail time.
When the accident involves bodily injury or death, the offense may rise to a felony. Possible penalties imposed by Georgia laws on hit and run may include fines and prison time.
However, even if a driver is convicted of just a misdemeanor, this can have civil consequences as well.
Insurance Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits
A hit and run adds another factor to a potential personal injury claim. When someone suffers injury due to the negligent driving of another person, they are entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. The hit-and-run laws in Georgia may help a claimant prove fault for civil liability.
There is a risk of civil penalties as well, if it is determined that a driver knowingly performed a hit-and-run and failed to stop to check if there were any injured persons.
Best Practices After Hit-and-Run Accidents
If you are involved in an accident, stop your vehicle and call the police. If the other driver leaves the scene, you still need to stop your vehicle and call the police.
It is also a good idea to gather as much information as you can from the scene, take photos of the damage with your phone or another camera, and take down notes about what you can remember of the incident. It is sometimes difficult to identify a hit-and-run driver, so any information you have may be key.
It’s important to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney if you are involved in a hit and run. They can help you navigate the situation and advise you on your options.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident? Call Weatherby Law Firm, P.C. Today
If you are involved in a hit and run accident, the personal injury team at Weatherby Law Firm, P.C. is here to help. We are an accomplished and respected firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, with a proven track record of success in automobile and other catastrophic accident cases.
We represent the genuinely injured, and honorable companies. Contact us by calling 404-793-0026 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.