It’s bad enough to be hit and hurt in an accident. When the at-fault driver leaves the scene and you are dealing with a hit-and-run in Georgia, the problems faced by the victim are more serious.
The expression “hit-and-run” refers to the situation when a driver causes an accident and leaves the scene without reporting the incident to the police. It’s an offense to leave the scene of an accident whether it involves injuries or property damage.
Often the victims are cyclists or pedestrians. The Atlanta area regularly sees hit-and-run accidents to pedestrians. They are frequently fatal.
An increase in fatalities caused by hit-and-run drivers fueled increased penalties for leaving the scene of accidents in a number of U.S. states.
Hit-and-run accidents are taken very seriously by the authorities. Nevertheless, a report in the summer of 2018 found incidents of drivers leaving the scene are at an all-time high.
The report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 2049 people died in hit-and-run crashes in 2016. This represented a 62 percent increase from 2009, the last year in which a downward trend was recorded. According to AAA, 2016 was the deadliest year since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began collecting statistics on fatal motor vehicle crashes in 1975, reported ABC News.
Hit-and-Run in Georgia – What Are the Rules?
Georgia state law requires that the driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident stops at the scene and locates any injured motorists or parties who suffered property damage. In the case of a fender bender, it may be sufficient for the drivers to exchange insurance information at the wreck scene. The police must be called if the accident involved an injury. The drivers must remain at the scene until a police officer has taken a statement.
Hit-and-run accidents in Georgia can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies.
The seriousness of the crash is usually the deciding factor. Hit-and-runs are prosecuted as misdemeanors when no physical injury is caused. However, even leaving the scene of a fender bender is likely to lead to criminal charges.
The penalties for a misdemeanor range from fines and restitution to jail time.
If a driver leaves the scene of a bodily injury or a death, the offense will likely be charged as a felony. Typically, felonies lead to prison sentences.
To avoid being charged with a hit-and-run in Georgia, drivers must do the following:
- Call 911 or the police. If anyone involved in the accident is seriously injured or injured in any way, drivers must make every reasonable effort to contact either law enforcement or medical services.
- Provide contact information. Drivers who involved in motor vehicle crashes must give contact information including their names, addresses, and vehicle registration number to the other driver.
- Provide reasonable assistance. Drivers who are involved in car crashes must provide reasonable help to anyone who is injured in the accident.
- Present a driver’s license. In the aftermath of a car, truck, or motorcycle crash, you should present the other driver with a valid driver’s license.
- Remain at the Scene. You must remain at the scene of an accident. If it’s just a property damage accident, you should provide insurance other identifying information before leaving the scene. Motorists who are involved in a crash with injuries must wait for an investigating police officer to compile a report.
If you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver, you should not panic. If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy, you can make a claim to cover injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver who is not traced.
The majority of drivers who leave an accident scene are apprehended and charged. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a hit-and-run driver in Georgia, please call our Newnan injury lawyer at (404) 913-1529.