Atlanta Hit and Run Accident Attorney
How Common Are Hit-and-Run Accidents In The State Of Georgia?
In the state of Georgia, hit and run is a serious offense. Also known as leaving the scene of an accident, hit-and-run accidents occur when someone causes damage to another person or that person’s vehicle and flees the scene without reporting the accident to the authorities.
Hit-and-run accidents can occur for several reasons. For instance a hit and run driver may flee the accident scene because they are intoxicated and don’t want to be arrested. Others may leave the scene because they either lack valid insurance or a driver’s license and are afraid of facing criminal charges as well as being held financially responsible for the damages. Other people may flee the scene of a car crash because they are simply trying to dodge both the inconvenience and hassle of the aftermath of the accident.
However, regardless of the reason, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime that can land you in serious trouble. If you are involved in any accident, don’t flee the scene. It’s important that you stay at the scene and contact law enforcement. Fleeing the scene of a crash can potentially make a bad situation much worse, ultimately leading to severe penalties for those involved.
Despite the dire consequences of hit-and-run accidents, research shows that the rates of hit-and-run accidents as well as fatalities are on the rise. In 2015, there were a total of 737,100 hit-and-run car accidents in the United States. This figure translates to a hit-and-run crash occurring taking place every 43 seconds somewhere in the United States.
Fatal hit-and-runs increased by 44% between 2010 and 2019. The 2,049 deaths that resulted from hit-and-run accidents in 2016 remain the highest number ever recorded, according to the NHTSA.
There were a total of 2,948 fatal hit-and-runs in California between 2010 and 2019, leading to 3,056 fatalities. Compared to other states, these figures were the highest. The state of Georgia isn’t far left behind and is ranked seventh after experiencing 584 hit-and-run fatalities in the same time period.
Possible Penalties For A Hit-and-Run Driver
Whenever you are involved in a crash, however minor, Georgia law requires you to stop and exchange information with the other persons involved in the accident. If you fail to do this and flee from the scene of the crash, you can be charged with hit-and-run driving.
In general, those involved in any type of auto accident are required to do the following:
- Remain on the scene of the crash
- Wait for the arrival of law enforcement
- Determine whether anyone is injured, and seek medical intervention
- Provide all the relevant identification information to help the authorities determine the fault
In most cases, the Georgian justice system treats a hit-and-run charge as a misdemeanor. But it’s worth noting that the court can sometimes prosecute a hit-and-run accident as a felony in certain situations.
A hit and run driver may face felony charges if they cause accidents that lead to either a serious injury or the loss of the life of another person. In such instances, drivers can face more serious penalties after being convicted.
In the state of Georgia, a hit and run driver may face misdemeanor charges. However, not all misdemeanor charges are handled the same. And this implies that drivers face increased penalties every time they are accused of a distinct hit & run in a period of five years.
The court tracks a person’s history of hit-and-run accidents. And after five years, a past incident is removed from your record and will no longer count against you if you end up in another accident. Below is a description of the penalties:
- First hit-and-run offense causing minor damage or injury: A fine of between $300 and $1,000 and or imprisonment for up to one year.
- Second hit-and-run offense causing minor injury or damage: A fine of between $600 and $1,000 and or imprisonment for up to a year.
- Third hit-and-run offense causing damage and injury: A fine of $1,000 and or imprisonment for up to one year.
- A hit-and-run accident that results in either serious injury or death: Imprisonment for at least 12 months but less than five years.
Hit-and-Run Charges And Driver’s License Restrictions
If you are convicted of a hit-and-run in the state of Georgia, you also face mandatory license suspension. As with the other penalties, the severity of your suspension will largely depend on your past record.
Drivers who commit their first hit-and-run offense face a mandatory 12-month license suspension. However, they may apply to reinstate their driver’s license after 120 days. Drivers only qualify for early reinstatement if they complete a risk reduction program or a defensive driving course and pay a reinstatement fee.
The state of Georgia raises the amount of time for a license suspension to 36 months after a second hit-and-run within five years. But you can request for early reinstatement after four years and meet the earlier described requirements.
Those found guilty of a third hit-and-run within five years will also have their license to drive suspended for up to five years. However, you may apply for a probationary license after two years.
Importance Of An Atlanta Hit-and-Run Car Accident Attorney
Hit-and-run auto accidents can leave victims struggling with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and astronomical medical expenses, among other numerous serious losses. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, you might be wondering whether you need to hire a Decatur personal injury attorney.
At Scholle Law, we believe contacting an experienced Atlanta hit-and-run accident attorney can be extremely beneficial, even if your injuries or damages are not significant. Hit-and-run incidents can become fairly complex and messy, particularly when there are multiple parties and dealing with the insurance company.
An experienced and reputable Atlanta injury lawyer will diligently fight for your rights, even against the largest corporations, and ensure you get compensated for your losses. Below are a few compelling reasons why you should hire an auto accident attorney if you are involved in an accident involving a hit and run driver:
- They will make the law work for you: A hit-and-run lawyer at Scholle Law knows and understands Georgia law. They will do their best to ensure you get every benefit the law affords you. Seasoned auto accident attorneys know there are potential benefits, even if you share in the fault.
- They will negotiate with the insurance company: Another great reason to hire an attorney is that they know how to deal with insurance providers. Insurers will always try to take advantage of unsuspecting car accident victims by offering lowball settlements while doing everything within their power to delegitimize honest claims. Experienced car accident attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company of the hit and run driver to reach an offer that accounts for all your losses. Accident attorneys at Scholle Law can deal with even the most stubborn insurance companies, and boast years of experience negotiating with them. They will work to ensure you get everything you deserve.
- They will meet the set deadlines: In the state of Georgia, you have a two-year window to file a lawsuit involving accident claims that seek financial compensation. Your Decatur personal injury attorney will be aware of this important deadline and will work quickly to get everything completed and submitted on time.
- They will determine which damages you are owed: Unless you are a legal professional, you might not know of some of the potential damages you qualify for. An experienced hit-and-run accident attorney can evaluate the impact the accident has had on every single aspect of your life and determine which damages are pursuable. They will ensure you receive compensation for every loss you have experienced, ranging from medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity to vehicle repair costs to pain and suffering, among others.
A hit-and-run accident occurs when one driver flees from the scene of the accident without exchanging information with the other driver or offering aid if someone is injured. In most American states including Georgia, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense. If you are involved in this type of accident, Georgian Law allows you file a claim and seek compensation for your damages.
The experienced hit-and-run attorneys at Scholle Law have frequently and successfully represented thousands of car accident victims. Although nothing can reverse the pain, suffering, and trauma of a serious hit-and-run auto accident, a fair settlement will not only help hold the hit and run driver accountable for their reckless actions, but will also help lift the financial burden of car repairs, medical care, and therapy costs off your shoulders. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Georgia, don’t hesitate to contact the Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Scholle Law.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find the best Atlanta Hit-and-Run accident attorney?
When you are facing a serious legal problem such as a hit-and-run, the steps you take next can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life. Hiring a qualified and experienced hit-and-run accident attorney, and doing it the right way is arguably the most important decision you’ll make. But how do you find the best Atlanta hit-and-run accident lawyer? Follow the steps below:
- Tap your network: One of the best ways to find a reliable and qualified Atlanta hit-and-run attorney is to ask the people you trust for recommendations. Ask around your close friends, family as well as co-workers to see whether they know of an attorney they could recommend.
- Conduct an online search: You can also conduct an attorney search at online databases such as Martindale Hubbell and Avvo, which offer vital information such as location, practice areas, lawyer reviews as well as disciplinary records.
- Schedule a consultation and ask the relevant questions: After narrowing down your options, call the selected attorneys and schedule consultations. Learn more about their level of experience, and legal fees, among other important things, and ultimately choose your preferred attorney based on your own evaluation.
What should I look for in an Atlanta Hit-and-Run Attorney?
Choosing the right hit-and-run attorney can sometimes prove a daunting task. Thankfully, there are a couple of factors that should guide you toward finding the best legal professional. Below are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an attorney:
- Good track record: It’s natural to want to hire an attorney who has won these kind of cases in the past as they have the relevant experience to successfully handle your case. Having an attorney with experience in this unique subtype of an auto accident is something you should seriously consider if you want to stand a chance of winning your case.
- The necessary credentials: A good, experienced attorney will have a couple of crucial credentials, ranging from peer ratings from other established lawyers, Board certifications among other types of legal awards. This shows that these lawyers have not only provided top-level legal services in the past, but have also earned the respect of other professionals in the field.
- Strong communication: Your hit-and-run accident attorney should be a good communicator. They should always return your calls, keep you updated on any developments, schedule regular appointments with you, and answer all your queries.
- Free consultation: This is another important factor that you must consider: Reputable law firms often offer free initial consultations, allowing clients to ask relevant questions and know more about their services in a no-obligation scenario.
How does a hit-and-run accident claim process work?
Hit-and-Run accidents can be brutal and traumatic. They can pose many challenges, especially if the at fault driver cannot be located. You could find yourself pleading with insurance companies for just a small amount of monetary settlement. This is why you need to contact an experienced attorney to help you handle the claim process and maximize your chances of winning.
There are a number of steps that you should take if you find yourself at the center of a hit-and-run accident, such as:
- If possible, write down the license plate number of the at fault driver: The first thing you should do after a hit-and-run accident is to write down the license plate of the vehicle that fled the scene.
- Contact law enforcement: After writing down the license plate number, or even if you were unable to do so, don’t hesitate to call the police to document the accident.
- Find witnesses and exchange contacts: It’s important that you write down the contact information of anyone that may have witnessed the incident, or at least saw the at-fault driver flee the area. Having credible witnesses who can attest to the crash can prove extremely beneficial, especially if you plan to legally pursue the case.
- Take photos: It’s also important to document everything from the accident, including location, time, and the at-fault driver’s vehicle.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t sustain serious injuries following the crash, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Your next step should be to find an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney to help file your case in a court of law. Your attorney will work with you to assemble supporting evidence that would help prove that you were indeed injured in a hit-and-run accident.
Your attorney will try to seek damages, including punitive damages. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. But your attorney will do his/her best to speed up the negotiation process and get you fair compensation, even if that means taking the case to trial.
What kind of experience does a hit-and-run accident attorney have that sets them apart from other attorneys?
All attorneys possess the knowledge and experience to lobby for your rights. However, there are numerous types of lawyers, including real estate attorneys, traffic attorneys, trusts, and estate attorneys, among others. What makes hit-and-run accident attorneys unique is that they have the relevant experience to handle hit-and-run accident cases and ensure victims receive fair compensation for the losses suffered.
Is there any special consideration when filing a hit-and-run claim with insurance companies?
Generally, when you don’t know the identity of a hit-and-run diver, you can only lodge a claim against your insurance provider. But you can only do this if you were not at fault for the accident. What’s more, you can never file a hit-and-run claim for damage that you cause. If you try to do this, your claim will be denied and you may be charged with insurance fraud.
Why is it important to consult with a personal injury attorney after an auto accident even if you are not injured in the crash?
When you are involved in a car crash, numerous variables are set in motion that may not lean in your favor, even if you are not injured in the accident. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. After that, even if your injuries are not serious, you should schedule an appointment with a personal injury attorney to help you know and understand your legal rights and determine whether or not you have a case.
This is because a personal injury attorney will not only protect you from unfair treatment from insurance companies, but because many auto accident injuries don’t reveal themselves until later and a qualified personal injury lawyer can help prevent surprise medical bills. What’s more, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages such as injuries, pain, and suffering and an attorney can help get fair and just compensation for your losses.
Are there any tips on how to read law firm client reviews before hiring one for your case?
You can run an attorney search on platforms such as Martindale Hubbell and Avvo, which offer vital information about attorneys such as disciplinary records, location, practice areas as well as verified client reviews.
Does having a valid driver’s license protect me from liability in court if involved in a hit-and-run incident as the victim or perpetrator?
No. having a valid driver’s license won’t protect you from liability in court if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident as either the victim or perpetrator. In the state of Georgia, you must have a valid license, permit, or restricted permit to operate a vehicle.
Are there any considerations when negotiating settlement amounts with insurance companies after filing my claim for damages caused in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence or fault?
In personal injury lawsuits, insurance firms usually take into account the same factors that juries would consider when deciding what a particular claim is worth. Generally, these factors include actual expenses such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, damaged property, permanent physical disability, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things.
Contact Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Scholle Law are available to talk through your case. We offer a free case evaluation, simply call (866) 582-1302 to be connected to our team of legal professionals.
You don’t have to go through this alone. If you’ve been injured and need an attorney who will help you with every aspect of your case, including medical bills, police reports and filing a claim, then contact us today.