So you were in an accident and did the right thing. You put your turn signal on to pull over, but you see the other vehicle drive off. Now you’re stuck without their insurance information or anything that would help you file your claim. What do you do? We recommend you reach out to an injury firm serving McDonough.
Trying to understand why anyone would leave a scene after a car accident is beyond most drivers. However, this is far too common in McDonough, GA. If you were in a hit-and-run accident, you should call a hit and run accident lawyer near McDonough immediately.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident and When to Contact a Lawyer
In addition to the fact that they were in an accident, hit and run drivers are typically hiding something else as well. There is the possibility they were under the influence of alcohol or were committing some other serious crimes such as drug possession. Or, there is the possibility that this is one too many accidents for them and they’re at risk of having their license suspended or revoked. Poor driving history is a major reason for many to avoid pulling over and reporting another accident to their insurance company. Finally, the reason for running away could simply be panic. In any case, fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal and can result in significant legal consequences for the driver in question.
The law in the McDonough, Georgia, requires that anyone involved in an automotive accident must pull over immediately. This means that anyone who leaves the scene of an accident can face legal action. Fines, prison sentences, and having their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked are some of the few possibilities. These are all fairly serious consequences for leaving the scene of an accident.
If you were involved in a hit-and-run, it is important that you remain calm, and follow these steps. Any hit and run accident lawyer, or hit and run accident attorney will typically provide the same advice.
Pull your vehicle over to the side of the road or stop in a safe space. Exercise caution when pulling to the shoulder of busy streets or highways. Take a moment and collect yourself.
Save important decisions for the aftermath. The first priority should always be safety. Before leaving the car to gather evidence or take pictures always ensure you and your passengers are safe. Ask anyone in the car if they’ve sustained injuries and check yourself as well.
Contact emergency services immediately. This is one of the situations where contacting 911 is standard procedure.
If you are not injured, inform the 911 operator that you are a victim of a hit and run accident. Let them know you need a police officer on the scene and file a report.
This is the first step that will benefit your case and will also help your hit and run accident lawyer. Filing a report will serve as proof that you alerted the authorities immediately. It will also prove that you stayed at the scene of the accident and did not run away like the other driver.
Write down any information you can recall about the vehicle or driver. The police and hit and run accident attorneys will be grateful for this information. Try to remember these pieces:
- Full or partial license plate information
- The make and model of the vehicle
- Any identifying information such as broken tail lights
- Any damage the car likely sustained from the collision
These little bits of information can come together to paint a vivid picture of the vehicle and help the police locate the driver. A hit and run accident lawyer can also use this information to begin building your case. Although the full license plate information and the make and model would be most ideal, it is completely reasonable that you won’t remember all of this information. Whatever you can remember would be good. Just make sure you give this information to the police and to your hit-and-run accident lawyer.
Picture and Witness Evidence Gathering
If you are safe and the passengers in your vehicle are alright, this is your opportunity to gather as much evidence from the scene of the accident as possible. Take as many pictures as possible and request contact information from witnesses. Witnesses play a special role in hit-and-run cases. In fact, many hit and run accident attorneys will tell you that witnesses can be the key to resolving these cases. If the driver who hit you and ran away immediately, witnesses are your only source to prove there was another driver involved.
Filing a Claim for a Hit and Run Car Accident in Georgia
Filing a claim with your own insurance company may become difficult when the other driver leaves the scene of the accident. Often your insurance will instruct you to file your claim through uninsured motorist coverage. If you don’t have this as part of your policy, things can get complicated. Speak to a hit and run accident lawyer in this regard.
What If the Police Find the Driver?
If the police can locate the driver involved in your hit and run accident, alert your hit and run accident lawyer immediately. When the driver is finally traced, you can file a claim with their insurance company. If it turns out that they don’t have insurance (which is quite likely), then you can pursue other options.
Filing civil and criminal charges against the other driver can be one of those options, but you need to discuss this with your car accident lawyer. You can file compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages
Relieving financial stress can help you and your family recover from the accident. Hit and run lawyers can work with you to monitor and calculate the financial burden that you may have experienced because of this accident.
Handling Insurance Companies After the Driver is Located
If the local police find the driver involved in your accident, your first step is to contact your Georgia hit and run accident attorney. However, you also need to contact your insurance provider.
It is difficult to navigate how best to handle an insurance company in this situation. Often times, insurance companies want to resolve their outstanding claims immediately. You will need to inform them that you are pursuing legal action against the other driver. The claim you submitted cannot continue until the lawsuit closes.
No doubt the insurance company will make multiple attempts to keep this out of court and attempt to persuade you to close this matter quickly without involving a hit and run accident attorney. You can inform them that the lawsuit is still ongoing and they will receive notice of the outcome. If your lawsuit hasn’t started yet inform them that this matter is still under investigation. Doing this lets them know they cannot move forward until the lawsuit or investigation is complete.
How Insurance Companies Handle Hit and Run Accidents
Insurance companies don’t put much effort into locating a hit-and-run driver. Instead, they treat it as an uninsured motorist, and if you don’t have this coverage on your policy, you’re likely to not get anything at all from your insurance company.
The struggle of fighting with an insurance company after a hit and run accident is one more stress than you need to handle. The point is: why should you? Let your hit-and-run accident lawyer deal with the insurance company. Many hit and run accident lawyers will place a priority on identifying the driver who fled the scene. The goal here is to identify an individual who may have insurance and the ability to provide compensation for damages you or your property sustained because of the accident.
When you work with hit-and-run accident attorneys, you can seek compensation for lost wages, lost time at work, and pain and suffering. Know that often insurance companies do not take these aspects into consideration when calculating a payout amount. They are also really not that concerned with finding the missing driver. As far as insurance companies are concerned, you either have uninsured motorist coverage, or you don’t. If you don’t, their work is done. This is where your personal injury lawyer will play a role. They will help you seek damages from the legal system, especially since there is no driver and no insurance company.
What If my Car was Parked during the Accident?
This is, unfortunately, a very common situation. You leave your car in a parking lot or in a driveway and come out to find your car damaged. The process only varies slightly. Ask local businesses or building management if they have any surveillance cameras that may help you identify the driver. Most people are very helpful in these situations.
Proceed to file an insurance claim as well as a police report. These are still valuable steps, and even more so as you don’t have any other proof. Contacting a hit and run lawyer can help you handle your insurance company and work with whatever information is available. Let them know that your car was parked and that you were not even driving at the time to have played any role in the accident. Take pictures of the parking lot, the damage to your car and any other evidence that may seem useful to you. This information can help prove your case in the long run. Look around and see if there was anyone who may have seen somebody hit your car.
Communicate Your Intentions Clearly
When speaking with your insurance company to notify them of the accident, make it a point to inform them that the driver fled the scene after the collision. Inform them that you filed a police report and intend to pursue a hit and run accident claim. Then call your hit-and-run accident lawyer. Remember, you have not done anything wrong. It is the other driver who is at fault. You have every right to pursue legal action against them.
The only problem is that you need help in finding the other driver. When you inform the police, they will already be on the lookout for the hit-and-run driver. But your hit-and-run accident lawyer will help build your case. They will represent your interest. After all, if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, there is very little hope that your insurance company will provide you with the funds to recover your financial losses. A lawsuit may be your only option, and for that, you need to speak to a hit-and-run accident lawyer to decide on the next course of action.
Consult with a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Near McDonough, GA
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident in McDonough Georgia, you need to speak to a hit-and-run lawyer immediately. Generally, Georgia hit and run accident lawyers can help you navigate and strategically decide between the legal options you have available.
Call the offices of The Weinstein Firm to speak with a hit and run accident lawyer and explain your situation. Each accident is unique, and hit and run accidents are situations of serious concern. The legal circumstances surrounding hit and run accidents can be quite challenging. You cannot handle this alone. We are here to help you get the justice you deserve.
Hitting somebody and then running away is completely unacceptable behavior. There could be somebody left on the road who needs medical attention. Somebody could suffer serious harm or even die at the scene. There is no justification for this behavior. It clearly demonstrates that the other driver has no sense of responsibility. They must be held accountable. Keep in mind that the law is on your side. You are the victim here, and we are here to help you get the justice you deserve. Call us today, and one of our hit-and-run accident lawyers will be happy to assist you.