Vehicle accidents happen every day, but there may be no worse kind than a “hit-and-run” due to its reflection of our society. Most of us want to believe the best in people, so it defies common sense that someone who was involved in a serious accident would choose to flee.
Unfortunately, many drivers opt for self-preservation over doing the right thing – both for vehicle-only accidents as well as those that involve a pedestrian. However, leaving the scene of an accident prior to producing the necessary driver documentation is considered a hit-and-run, and may carry criminal charges in addition to liability for monetary damages
. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run automobile accident anywhere in Middle Georgia, you have rights. Simply because you are unable to locate the person responsible does not mean that you are without options. At the Mann Law Firm, we have over 50 years of experience with personal injury claims and we take car accidents very seriously. We represent clients across Georgia, including residents of Macon
, Warner Robins
. Contact us at (478) 742-3381 or through our online form for a free initial consultation.
State Law Says Drivers Must Stop After an Accident
Georgia law requires all drivers to stop when they are involved in an accident that results in damage to a vehicle, personal injury, or death. The law further requires that the drivers exchange information such as name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
If a driver knowingly fails to do this, it is considered a misdemeanor, but if the accident caused death or serious injury, then it becomes a felony offense carrying a five-year maximum prison term.
Common Causes of Hit and Run Accidents
So, why do people ignore their conscience, risk a jail sentence, and leave the scene of an accident? The data suggests that the majority of drivers involved in hit-and-run crashes are already doing something unlawful, so the consequences of fleeing are equal to or less than the consequences of being arrested for that illegal activity plus being involved in a serious car crash. The number of unlicensed or illegal drivers on the road is estimated to be in the millions, and it’s these people far more than those with licenses who are likely to be hit-and-run drivers. Another common criminal behavior seen in hit-and-run drivers is driving under the influence. Strict drunk driving policies appear to cause people to run from the scene of a crime that they would be held accountable for if they stayed.
The Role of Insurance Coverage
The obvious problem with hit-and-run accidents is that sometimes the driver who left the scene is never apprehended. It’s often impossible for the victim to identify the driver or the vehicle responsible for the accident, and the police may not have enough other evidence to find the driver. Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage on the victim’s own automobile insurance policy can help. Although Georgia drivers are not required by law to carry this coverage, insurance companies are required to offer it, and it may be smart coverage to have given the estimate by the Insurance Research Council that roughly 12.6 percent of drivers are uninsured. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pays for your injuries when someone with no insurance causes an accident or when you are struck by a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist (UIM) kicks in when someone else causes an accident but does not have enough insurance to cover all of your costs.
Contact an Experienced Macon Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
If you do have UM/UIM coverage and choose to file a claim based on a hit-and-run incident, you should still seek legal representation to protect your interests. Even your own insurer will try to minimize any payout, just as the other driver’s insurance company would if you were suing it. If the driver was arrested, we can help you file suit to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, among other things. If you don’t have coverage and the responsible party was never caught, we still invite you to discuss your accident with the hit and run accident attorneys of the Mann Law Firm. Let us evaluate your case and examine all potential avenues of recovery. Call us at (478) 742-3381 or use our convenient online contact form.