On Tuesday afternoon, March 23rd, a Warner Robins pedestrian was hit by a truck in a Kroger grocery store parking lot on Highway 96. Unfortunately, instead of doing the right thing by stopping, the truck driver drove off and left the injured victim to call for help.
Warner Robins police are still searching for the owner of the truck, and the case has been classified as a hit-and-run.
What’s a hit-and-run?
There are 3 different ways to define a hit-and-run in Georgia:
- Someone hit your vehicle in a parking lot or space while you were away or in your vehicle.
- Someone hit your vehicle while you were driving.
- Someone hit you while you were on your bicycle or walking.
Georgia law §40-6-270 explains that drivers must not leave the scene of any accident they cause, or else they may face criminal charges. But not all drivers stick around.
What should you do after a hit-and-run?
- The damages after a hit-and-run can be as minor as a dent or scrape to as major as severe damage to your vehicle and injury to yourself. If you’re injured, immediately call 911 and wait for the paramedics to treat your wounds. If you’re not severely injured, pull over to the side of the road and contact the local authorities.
- Write down everything you can remember on the police report. The more information you have, the better. If you’re able to note the make and model of the vehicle or the license plate numbers, the police will have a better chance of finding the owner.
- If there are witnesses, exchange contact information with them as this will be helpful if you decide to file a claim or sue the driver later.
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident from multiple angles and lighting.
- Even if you feel okay, it’s always a good idea to visit the emergency room post-accident as injuries can occur without showing visible signs, such as whiplash and concussions.
- Notify your insurance company. Whether or not the driver has been found, it’s important that you tell your insurance company about the accident so they can be put on notice. Failing to do so can make you ineligible for coverage.
- Lastly, contact a car accident attorney near you to discuss your right to compensation and justice following a hit and run. Since these cases are more challenging, it’s important to talk to a legal expert who can walk you through all available avenues to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Can hit-and-run victims take legal action?
One of the first questions after a car accident is:
Who’s fault was it?
Georgia is an at-fault state, which means drivers are legally required to pay for any accidents that occurred because of their negligence.
If the victim of a hit-and-run wants to receive compensation, they have every legal right to do so. But their compensation might be affected depending on the following circumstances:
Were you able to identify the at-fault driver?
Many hit-and-run victims never see the driver who hit them, or they only see them briefly at the scene of the accident before they drive off. If you or the police are able to identify and locate the driver and they have insurance as required by Georgia law, you will pursue damages and medical costs through insurance as you normally would.
The hit-and-run driver might face additional penalties and fines for fleeing the accident scene, but that will be a separate criminal case and shouldn’t affect your compensation claim.
Insurance coverage through PIP or UM
Certain insurance policies, such as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, can help cover your expenses if the police aren’t able to locate the driver who hit you or the driver is uninsured. If you have one of these types of coverage, you may be able to rely on your own insurance to cover the costs of any damage and injuries.
However, in Georgia, PIP and UM coverage is optional and not required by law. You and your attorney should carefully review your insurance policy to determine if you have such coverage that may apply to hit and runs.
Insurance doesn’t always cover everything
If you don’t have optional insurance coverage that applies to hit-and-runs and the at-fault driver is never identified, then you may be left in a bind. If you’re financially struggling to cover the expenses after a hit-and-run, you may still have rights left to you. Our attorneys can help investigate the crash and walk you through your legal options.
Contact a Warner Robins hit-and-run injury lawyer
If you or someone you love was injured after being hit by a driver who fled the accident scene without a trace, don’t hesitate to contact the Georgia law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson to discuss your case.
Your case matters to us. Our team will sit down with you to help determine the best course of action and get you the maximum amount of compensation possible. Schedule your free consultation at one of our offices conveniently located in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins today.