Hit and Run Accident
Georgia law protects the rights of all car accident victims to be fairly compensated by a negligent driver who caused their physical, emotional, and financial losses. Unfortunately, this is made difficult when the negligent driver also commits a hit and run. It is important for victims of this crime to seek legal advice about how to protect their legal right to compensation. The experienced car accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have spent decades protecting the rights of hit and run accident victims across the state of Georgia. They will aggressively fight for your rights - even in a situation made difficult by the crime of hit and run. Call 404.255.6677 to schedule your free consultation today.What Happens After a Car Accident?
It can be difficult to know what to do after the terrifying experience of being involved in a car accident. First, be sure to attend to any immediate medical needs. Call 911 right away of anyone involved in the accident appears to be in physical distress. The emergency dispatcher will also be able to send law enforcement agents to help clear the scene. Law enforcement will also make a report of the accident. This is important, as most insurance claims adjusters consider the police report to be the most important evidence of what really happened. A police report is also critical evidence in the case of a hit and run accident. Not only does it substantiate the hit and run claim for insurance companies, but it also starts a police investigation into the crime that occurred.
After a typical car accident, the insurance carriers of all involved drivers will conduct their own independent investigations of the accident. Sometimes this is simple as speaking with the insured driver to obtain his or her version of events. Other times, it involves a far more extensive investigation of the physical evidence of the accident. Photographs and videos may be taken. Structural engineers may be called upon to recreate the accident. And in drastic cases where the drivers’ version of events contradict one another, insurance companies may even hire private investigators to look into the accident or the driver’s credibility as a witness. Private investigators are generally used in cases in which the insurance company suspects that the entire claim was fraudulent.
Once the insurance companies have conducted an investigation, they will make a determination as to which driver was legally at fault (“liable”) for causing the accident. The liable driver has a legal obligation to compensate all victims of his or her negligence, and the driver’s insurance carrier has a contractual obligation to pay these losses on behalf of the insured negligent driver. In some cases, liability is easy to determine. For example, rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver in the rear position. Other complex accidents might make it very difficult to determine which driver was at fault for causing the accident. Liability can also be apportioned between more than one party (including non-drivers, such as a passenger, bicyclists, road maintenance crew, or other road users). When the insurance companies are having difficulty determining who was at fault for the accident, it is important that an injury victim have the advice of an experienced car accident attorney to ensure that the victim’s legal rights aren’t lost in the mix.
Finally, once liability has been assigned, the insurance carrier of the at-fault party will make a valuation of the injury victim’s legal claim. As you can imagine, an adverse party’s insurance carrier wants to pay as little as possible on as few claims as possible. Insurance carriers spend huge sums of money every year training their adjusters to do exactly this. Here, too, it is critically important that injury victims have the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise them on the fair value of their claims. A fair settlement offer will fully account for all the many losses the victim has suffered, including lost wages as a result of time off work due to the accident, all medical expenses incurred to date, future medical expenses that are likely to be incurred as a result of the accident, pain and suffering, property damage, and other financial and emotional losses that are attributable to the negligence of the at-fault driver.How are Injury Victims Compensated After a Hit and Run Accident?
In a hit and run accident, the at-fault driver is usually the one who has fled the scene of the accident. This can, of course, make it difficult to obtain his or her insurance information. The first and most important step a victim can take is to call police to the scene of the crime. Law enforcement agents will be able to document the damage and start a criminal investigation into the crime that occurred (a hit and run). This criminal investigation triggers certain protections for the injury victim under the Georgia Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights. If the hit and run driver is identified in the course of the criminal investigation, it may be possible to identify his or her insurance company or obtain a judgment against his or her assets in order to pay the value of the injury victim’s claim. Unfortunately, many hit and run drivers are never identified.
In the event that the injury victim is never able to find the at-fault hit and run driver, he or she may be able to seek compensation under the uninsured motorist provisions of his or her own insurance policy. These provisions protect injury victims from at-fault drivers who cannot be found, do not carry insurance, or carry insufficient coverage to pay the full value of the victim’s injury claim. A claim under this policy is based on the negligence of someone other than the policyholder. In this respect, it can be an effective means of protecting injury victims from the actions of a hit and run driver.We Fight Hard for Hit and Run Victims
Hit and run accident victims across Georgia trust the experienced car accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd to protect their legal rights. Our attorneys know how to handle hit and run cases to best protect the victim’s right to be compensated for all of his or her losses. Don’t get pressured into accepting a low settlement offer from an insurance company - hire an attorney who will fight for you. Schedule your free consultation by calling 404.255.6677 today. Don’t wait - statutes of limitation can bar your claim if it is not timely filed, and evidence can be lost over time.