There are many reasons why a person would leave the scene of an accident illegally.
Causes of Hit and Run Accidents
Here are some of the top causes of hit and run accidents:
The hit-and-run driver wanted to avoid a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Many hit-and-run drivers will flee the scene of a crash without helping the people they injured because they do not want to get a DUI conviction. People with previous convictions for driving while impaired are more likely to flee.
Sometimes an impaired driver will wait until he thinks the alcohol or drugs have passed through his system and then turn himself in. This result tends to happen when the hit-and-run driver faces a strong possibility of getting caught eventually due to witnesses, security footage, or physical evidence left at the scene.
Some people leave the scene of an accident illegally because they do not carry the state-mandated automobile insurance. They do not want to face criminal charges and possible fines for violating this law.
Driver with Outstanding Warrants or Previous Tickets
A driver might flee the scene of the crash if she has outstanding warrants because law enforcement would likely arrest her when they ran her driver's license information. A person with previous moving violations might hit and run trying to avoid additional points against her license that could cause her insurance rates to skyrocket and make her lose her driver's license.
Driver with Other Legal Problems
A driver fearing adverse consequences from interaction with law enforcement might leave the scene of the collision. For example, a driver who is not a United States citizen, who is on parole, or who received a suspended imposition of sentence in a previous traffic case might prefer to take his chances as a hit and run driver.
Sometimes a driver panics and makes a bad decision in the stress of the moment. The driver might have a clean driving record but run away from the crash out of fear. Behavioral experts say that humans have a "fight or flight reflex." When some people are in the middle of a crisis, their instinct is to run. These drivers often turn themselves in after information about the crash hits the news.
Three Things to Do After a Hit and Run Crash
The steps you take after a collision can affect the amount of compensation you eventually receive for your injuries. Immediately after a hit-and-run accident, you should:
- Call the police. Law enforcement has the best chance of catching a fleeing driver if you contact them directly. With every hour that passes, the trail grows colder and the likelihood of apprehending the offender decreases. Also, Georgia law requires people to report most motor vehicle crashes.
- Get medical attention. Even if you feel fine right after the crash, you should get a professional medical evaluation from your doctor, an urgent care center, or an emergency room. Some injuries have delayed symptoms. Also, if you do not get medical care right away, the insurance company might claim that you got hurt from some other event and not the hit-and-run accident.
- Talk with a lawyer. Hit and run accident injury claims are complicated because the at-fault party might never get caught. A personal injury lawyer can help identify other types of insurance that might help to pay some of your losses. Your lawyer can work directly with the insurance company so that you do not have to deal with the adjuster.
Insurance That Can Cover Your Losses in a Hit and Run Accident
If the authorities eventually discover the identity of the at-fault driver and she has liability insurance, we can pursue your injury claim against the driver’s automobile policy. If the hit and run driver remains uncaptured or is uninsured, Georgia law treats both situations as an uninsured motorist and allows you to make a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is optional but can be useful in these situations. Be aware that many automobile policies provide a lower coverage limit on uninsured motorist coverage than on standard liability. In other words, a policy might pay up to $100,000 per person as standard liability coverage, but only $50,000 per person for uninsured motorist coverage.
It can be worth your while to find out whether your health insurance covers injuries from a hit and run accident. Many health insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for motor vehicle accidents, but because some will help with these medical bills, it is a good idea to check.
Getting Legal Help After a Hit and Run Accident
Hit and run car accidents are complicated and difficult. These cases involve complex insurance issues. Regardless of whether law enforcement eventually catches the hit and run driver or not, it is a good idea to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to handle your compensation claim.
Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation. Our legal fees come out of the settlement or judgment at the end.