On Saturday, April 10, 2021, a Warner Robins couple on their motorcycle were involved in a hit-and-run with an F-150 pickup truck. The accident occurred at the intersection of Moody and Breckenridge Drive, just before 10:00 p.m. Witnesses saw the truck driver and passengers take off. They dialed 911 and stepped in to help.
The couple, Alicia and Anthony Campigalia, were pulled from the burning wreckage by witnesses. Alicia was airlifted to a hospital in Atlanta where she’s receiving treatment for her burns. Anthony was taken to the Medical Center, Atrium Health Navicent.
Investigators are still searching for the F-150 driver, but he has been identified as Jonas Sanchez. Witnesses were able to note the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle. No charges have been filed yet, but investigators want to speak with Sanchez.
What should you do after a hit-and-run?
Getting hit by a car is one thing. Being hit by a driver who doesn’t stick around to help is another ordeal entirely.
Normally when you’re involved in an accident, you exchange information with the other driver and work with their insurer to fix your car.
But what should you do if the other driver takes off?
1. Make sure you’re not injured
Check yourself and any other passengers for injuries. If you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re more likely to suffer from bruises, cuts, lacerations, broken bones, or even a concussion. In the Campigalia’s case, they also suffered severe burns.
If you or your passenger(s) are seriously injured, dial 911 and wait for emergency responders to arrive.
2. Report the accident
If you’re lucky, you won’t be seriously hurt. But your vehicle probably took a beating after another car hit it. Immediately report the accident to the Georgia authorities. Even if the damages are nothing more than a scrape or dent, always report a car accident. This way you’ll have an official record if you want to file a claim.
3. Photograph the scene
Take pictures from several angles and under different lights. Get close-ups of the damage to your car and shots of street signs and road conditions. This evidence will help you if you decide to file a claim later on.
4. Talk to witnesses
Accidents happen quickly and without warning, which makes it hard to identify critical details such as the make and model of the car and the license plate number. Talk to witnesses nearby who might’ve seen the accident occur, and exchange contact information with them. They might’ve seen something you missed.
If there’s a store nearby, talk to the owner. They may have a surveillance camera that could’ve caught an image of the car as it fled the scene.
5. Fill out the police report
When the police arrive, you may be asked to fill out or sign a police report. Be as detailed as possible on paper and as you talk to the officer. Even a seemingly minor and insignificant detail can be important and make a difference in the compensation you receive.
6. Talk to your insurance company
File a claim with your insurer as soon as possible. If your car is badly damaged, you’ll want to repair it quickly so you can get back on the road. Some insurance companies will cover a rental vehicle while you wait for your car to get fixed.
7. Seek medical attention
When you’re initially hit by another vehicle, it’s easy to overlook some injuries or not see any at all. Some injuries, like whiplash, aren’t visible to the naked eye. These can be especially harmful, which is why you should visit the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
A medical professional can help identify any injuries beneath the skin’s surface,
When to file a claim after a hit-and-run in Georgia
A “hit-and-run” is defined as someone who has hit you or your vehicle and left the scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident is against Georgia law, which means you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to pressing criminal charges. But before you do, speak with an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney.
There are 3 major steps to file a claim in Georgia after a hit-and-run:
1. Identify the driver
A lawsuit should be filed as soon as possible after the accident. But first the driver who hit your vehicle needs to be identified. The quickest way is to get the license plate number. If the driver fled the scene and you didn’t get a good look, try to remember any identifying characteristics about them and their car.
Even if the driver can’t be found, there’s still hope. Obtaining a MedPay policy or having an uninsured/underinsured driver policy on your insurance is beneficial. This coverage protects you if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance to cover damages. But it also includes situations where the driver can’t be found.
2. Establish liability
The police report you filled out at the scene of the accident will come in handy here. If the driver is identified, they will likely face criminal charges. This will also make it simpler to establish who’s at-fault.
3. Reach a settlement
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will want to settle right away once liability is established. It’s tempting to get it over with and sign on the dotted line, but you should never do this until you consult with a Georgia accident attorney.
Most insurance companies will try to offer a settlement that’s less than what you deserve. An experienced attorney can make sure you don’t come up short in the long run. Our hit-and-run lawyers will examine every piece of evidence to make sure you get the compensation you need to cover damages, injuries, and lost wages.
Consult with a Georgia accident attorney today
At Westmoreland Law, we know there are many variables in a Georgia hit-and-run case. This can be overwhelming, but our experienced car accident lawyers can help. We will relieve some of the burden and help ensure you get fair compensation.