Typically, when you think of a hit-and-run accident, you think the worst, a situation where a driver hit a pedestrian and fled the scene. However, Georgia state law provides a far more broad definition of this term. Surprisingly, statistics suggest that nearly every driver will be a victim of a hit-and-run in their lifetime. The most common occurrence is when your vehicle is parked in a parking lot and is struck while you are away, and the driver leaves without leaving any information. Unfortunately, the number of serious injuries and fatal hit-and-runs are also on the rise in the United States. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 1500 American drivers are killed annually in hit-and-run collisions.
Hit-and-Run in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, a hit-and-run is defined as any incident where a driver fails to stop or return to the scene. This means that a hit-and-run is any occasion where a driver leaves the accident prior to identifying themselves. Regardless of if the collision involved personal injury or property damage, every driver must remain at the scene. Depending on the type of collision and severity of the damage, Georgia law lists potential penalties for drivers who flee the scene of an accident.
Variations of a Hit-And-Run
The following are the three most common types of hit-and-run incidents in the state of Georgia:
- Damage to Personal Property: This type of incident is most prevalent when a driver accidentally hits someone else’s parked vehicle and leaves the scene without notifying the vehicle’s owner. (In this type of situation no one is injured).
- Personal Injury: This type of incident occurs when an accident involves a vehicle striking a pedestrian, or a collision with another vehicle where an individual inside the vehicle sustains an injury.
- A Fatal Incident: As the title says, this type of incident occurs when an accident causes the death of a pedestrian or an individual in one of the vehicles involved in the accident.
Penalties in the State of Georgia
Depending on the circumstances of your situation, if you are involved in an accident and flee the scene you may be ticketed, charged with a crime, and/or charged with a felony. In the event that an individual fled the scene of an accident and no one was injured, you can still face misdemeanor charges, including a potential suspension of driver’s license, fines ranging from $300.00 to $1000.00, and potential imprisonment for up to one year. In the event that you fled the scene of an accident where there were injuries or a fatality you may face felony hit-and-run charges that can carry a prison sentence of one to five years.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
The following steps should be taken at minimum if you are involved in a motor-vehicle accident:
- Check to make sure all individuals are okay, if not immediately call 9-1-1.
- Call the police and be sure to obtain an official police report.
- Exchange personal information with all parties involved. This includes driver license information, registration, personal contact information, and insurance information. It is important to note that if an individual in another vehicle asks for your driver’s license number, you must provide it for them.
- Get the contact information for any potential witnesses.
- Notify your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident.
If you have been involved in any type of automobile accident the other party’s insurance company will be doing everything in their power to discredit your claims and pay you as little as possible. Therefore, it is critical that you reach out to a personal injury attorney immediately following the accident. Your attorney will stand up to the insurance company and fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about what you are entitled to following an accident contact the Van Johnson Law Firm in Atlanta today. (404) 551-2428. firstname.lastname@example.org