Here’s vital information you need to know if you or a loved one were injured in a hit and run in Atlanta, GA
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Atlanta, GA 30328
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Here at Scholle Law, we exclusively represent hit and run accident victims, and help them recover maximum compensation for their injuries and property damage. Contact us to schedule your face-to-face FREE consultation with one of our experienced Atlanta, GA car accident lawyers. We’ve helped many Atlanta residents with their hit and run claim. Let us help you, too.
Whoever hit you and fled deserves to face justice and the consequences of their actions. And you deserve to be compensated for the financial and physical pain they inflicted upon you and your family.
At Scholle Law, we can help lead the investigation into finding the at-fault driver and explain what your options are if they cannot be found. We’ll make sure your damages are fully documented and negotiate with insurers to secure you the maximum possible compensation.
Insurance company wants to talk you into admitting that, somehow, you were at fault. If he does that, he is going to reduce your award or eliminate it completely. And, that is unfair.
Legal Fact: An attorney can handle all phone calls and other conversations with auto insurance companies.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.
What our experienced Atlanta hit and run attorneys can do for you
If you or a loved one were the victim of a hit and run, we understand the many emotions you may be experiencing and questions you may have. You may be dealing with the financial, physical and emotional repercussions of an accident, but have no one to place the blame on or hold accountable for your losses. While a doctor can help treat your physical and psychological injuries, it takes the knowledge of an experienced attorney to help you recover from your financial injuries after a hit and run.
At Scholle Law, we’ve helped Atlanta hit and run victims for the last two decades, and we can help you by providing vital legal services. We will:
- Investigate the accident scene and gather evidence to help identify the at-fault driver
- Calculate the full extent of your damages — including economic losses (emergency room, medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, etc.) and non-economic losses (emotional distress, PTSD, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.)
- Review your insurance policy to determine what compensation you may be owed from your own insurance company
- File the necessary paperwork and meet deadlines to ensure you get compensation sooner
- Negotiate with insurers to make sure you receive a full and fair settlement
- Represent your case in court (if necessary)
Your first consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys is 100% free. During the initial meeting, we’ll ask you to describe what happened and evaluate the details of your case so that we can inform you of your legal options. There’s no commitment required. We simply want to help you make the best decision for you and your family — whether that means pursuing your claim with our help or not. And if you do request our help, we’ll start immediately on your case to ensure we deliver the best possible outcome.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.
Help! Someone hit me and drove away. What now?
Shock. Confusion. Anger. You’re probably feeling a mix of these and other emotions if someone hit your car and fled the scene. Here are step-by-step instructions explaining what to do if you’ve been involved in a hit and run:
- First, you should take a deep breath and evaluate the damage. Are you hurt? How badly is your vehicle damaged?
- Call 911 and let the operator know what happened and if anyone is injured so that they can send an ambulance.
- If it’s safe to do so and you aren’t hurt, try to gather evidence from the accident scene by talking to witnesses and taking pictures. Write down any details about the other driver that you can remember.
- Once police arrive at the accident scene, answer their questions and tell them any information that may help identify the hit and run driver.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you were in the vehicle when it was hit. Even if you “feel fine” immediately following the crash, pain and injuries may worsen over time after the adrenaline and shock has worn off.
- After you’ve left the accident scene, call your auto insurance company and let them know that you were in a hit and run accident. If the other driver cannot be found, you may need to pursue compensation through your own policy, and notifying your insurer in a timely manner is a vital step.
- Contact an Atlanta law firm that specializes in hit and run car crash cases.
Hit and run statistics
Hit and runs are a serious problem in this country, especially in downtown Atlanta. In fact, a hit-and-run happens every single minute in the United States. That’s an average of well over half a million (682,000) hit-and-run crashes every year.
Here are some other shocking statistics about hit and runs:
- Hit-and-run fatalities in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009
- Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists
- Over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes
- Hit and run crashes are increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles, and are more likely to occur in the dark
- Georgia ranks 4th in the U.S. for the number of hit and run crashes with fatalities
- Fulton and DeKalb counties lead the state for the most fatal wrecks involving pedestrians
Georgia accident reporting laws
In Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia, anyone who is involved in a collision, crash or accident has a legal duty to obey certain requirements. Failing to meet these requirements is a criminal offense. Anyone caught leaving an accident scene will be charged and face fines, jail time and other penalties.
Every driver in Georgia is required to take the stop and report the accident to police if the crash involves:
- Property damage over $500. You are required by law to report an accident to local police if there is more than $500 in property damage. This number is considerably lower than in other states, meaning Georgia strongly encourages accident victims to notify police. Calculating the cost of damage can be difficult unless you’re a mechanic or body shop repairman, and even seemingly minor scratches or dents could be expensive to fix. For this reason, we recommend you contact law enforcement if there is any property damage.
- Injury or death. If someone is killed or injured due to a collision, then you are required to report the accident to local authorities and remain at the scene. If someone is injured, help them in any way you can (such as calling for an ambulance).
In Georgia, if, while you are driving your vehicle, you are involved in a collision, you must stop and/or return to the scene of the accident…
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident.
Once you stop at the accident scene, you are required by law to provide some basic information. You must give your name, address, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information to anyone else involved in the crash, as well as to the responding officer. The other driver/s is required to give you their information, too. You are also required to render assistance and avoid obstructing traffic as much as possible.
Other times when you should contact police
If the person who hit you doesn’t have insurance, you should contact law enforcement immediately. They may try to convince you to handle it without involving police, but don’t buy it. You might as well say goodbye to any compensation if you allow them to drive away, even if they gave you their contact information. You’ll need a police report to file an uninsured or underinsured claim with your insurance company.
Even if the damage was less than $500 and nobody was hurt, you should still contact local law enforcement if the other driver is being uncooperative or behaving aggressively — or if the other driver disputes what happened and blames you. A police officer can gather the information required and file an independent report that determines who was at-fault, which can be used to negotiate with insurers.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
Call 866-972-5287 or send us a message online
Common types and causes of hit and runs in Atlanta, GA
- Drunk drivers. Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs are more likely to hit someone or another vehicle, and they often flee the accident scene because they are afraid of being arrested or charged with a DUI.
- Distracted driving. Whether it’s using their phone, texting and driving, adjusting the radio or talking to someone else in the car, distracted driving leads to countless hit and runs each year.
- Parking lots. Hit and runs are especially common in parking lots — partly because more collisions in general happen in these places. A mix of many cars tightly packed together and pedestrians everywhere is a dangerous combination. In addition, a person who hits a parked vehicle may not know how to locate the vehicle’s owner. If a vehicle’s owner can’t be located despite making an effort, drivers in Georgia are required by law to leave a note with their name and contact information in an obvious spot (such as on the windshield).
- Teen drivers. Inexperienced drivers are more apt to leave an accident scene because they are afraid of the consequences and they fail to understand the repercussions of their actions.
- Pedestrians & bicyclists. When a driver hits a pedestrian or bicyclist, it commonly results in serious injuries or even death. In such situations, a driver may panic and flee the scene, knowing that they can’t be chased by the person they hit.
- Uninsured/unlicensed drivers. Though all drivers in Georgia are required to have auto insurance and be properly licensed, the reality is that many fail to obey these laws. If an uninsured or unlicensed driver hits another vehicle, person or cyclist, they might choose to flee in order to avoid the additional penalties they will surely receive from police officers and to avoid having to pay out of pocket.
Hit and run FAQs: questions and answers
How can a hit and run driver be found?
Though more difficult, a driver who fled the scene of a crash can still be identified and found using a number of investigatory techniques. For starters, you should contact local police and tell them everything you can remember about the driver — including any identifying factors such as their gender, hair color, license plate (state and/or number), as well as the vehicle’s make, model and color.
Asking witnesses is another way to identify a hit and run driver. Eyewitnesses in nearby vehicles or homes may have seen something that you didn’t, which could help identify the driver. If there were no witnesses, then nearby businesses might have surveillance videos that captured the crash and can be used to identify the driver.
Evidence found at the scene may also help point to the hit and run driver’s identity and location. For instance, by looking at the type of damage on your vehicle and any paint scratch colors, investigators may be able to narrow down their search.
An experienced hit and run lawyer knows how to use these and other investigation techniques to help identify and locate the responsible driver.
What should I do if someone hits my car and runs?
First and foremost, you should dial 911. If you or someone else is hurt, be sure to tell the operator so they know to send an ambulance. While you wait for police to arrive and file a report, try to gather information and evidence by taking pictures and talking to witnesses (only if it’s safe to do so and you’re not hurt).
Next, contact an Atlanta hit and run lawyer who specializes in representing accident victims. They’ll be able to tell you what steps you can take to maximize your compensation amount, including how to file a claim with your insurance company.
Can I sue someone for hitting my parked car?
If you’re able to identify and locate the person who hit your car through an investigation or because they left a note, then first you would file a claim with your own insurance company and your insurer would be compensated by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If your injuries are so severe that the costs go above and beyond what is covered under your insurance policy — or if the insurance company disputes who was at-fault — then you can sue the at-fault driver for personal injury damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If, however, you aren’t able to figure out who hit your parked car, then unfortunately you won’t be able to sue anyone since the would-be defendant cannot be identified. Your best option is to file a claim with your own insurance company. How much compensation you can receive will depend on your individual policy limits, such as whether or not you have an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
What’s the statute of limitations for hit and runs in Georgia?
In Atlanta and throughout Georgia, car crash victims have 2 years after their crash to file an injury claim. For property damage compensation, accident victims have 4 years to file a claim. These deadlines apply to hit and runs as well.
There are few exceptions to the statute of limitations. If you miss it, your chances of ever getting financial compensation for your injuries are basically zero. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better your odds of winning.
What are the criminal penalties for a hit and run in Atlanta?
In Georgia, the crime of leaving an accident scene that you are involved in is known as a “hit and run.” The penalties vary depending on how serious the damage was and whether or not anyone was injured or killed. A hit and run can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony punishable by:
- Jail time (up to 5 years)
- Fine ($300 to $1,000)
- Mandatory stay, suspension or probation of your license
In addition to criminal penalties, hit and run drivers may be sued in a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the accident victim. Damages awarded might be for anything from economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) to non-economic losses (pain and suffering, etc.) and even punitive damages.
Who pays for my damages in a hit and run?
Georgia uses the at-fault system. This means that in a standard car accident, the insurance company representing the other (at-fault) driver would pay for your injuries and property damage. However, in a hit and run where the at-fault driver cannot be found, the issue becomes more complicated. If the other driver can be found via a police or private investigation, that’s your best way to get compensation.
However, if the other driver cannot be located or they don’t have insurance, then your best bet is probably to file a claim with your own insurance company to get help with damages. Generally, your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy (if you have one) would provide coverage in these types of cases.