It is a crime in Georgia to leave the scene of an automobile accident without stopping to share contact information with any motorists and to help obtain medical care for any injured victims. Unfortunately, some negligent drivers in Georgia flee from the scene in a hit and run accident. They do it for many reasons, such as being intoxicated, having no insurance, or having an outstanding warrant for their arrest. However, if you were the victim of one of these crashes, you do have options to locate the driver and hold him accountable for his negligent and morally reprehensible actions.
How to Locate a Hit and Run Driver
You must find the negligent driver if you need to make a claim for compensation with his insurance company. The first step in doing this is staying at the scene and calling the police. Just like it is illegal for the other driver to flee the scene, it would also be against the law for you to do so. In addition, even if the hit and run driver is never located, you will need a copy of the police report to file a claim with your insurance company. This could be an additional source of compensation if you purchased collision, MedPay, or uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
In some cases, it may be impossible to locate the hit and run driver. For example, if your vehicle was hit while parked in a parking lot and there were no witnesses, you may never discover his identity. However, this is not true in all cases. Here are some ways that you can attempt to find the driver:
- Police. While the police may not investigate your accident if no one was injured, they may make more of an effort to locate the driver if you or a passenger suffered serious injuries in the crash. This will be more likely if you can provide the officer with some details—such as the year, model, and color of the vehicle, license plate number or partial number, or description of the driver.
- Witnesses. If a witness saw the accident occur, he may be able to provide information that can help locate the driver. He may have even taken a quick picture or video once he realized that the driver was fleeing.
- Nearby businesses. A business near your accident scene may have surveillance cameras used for security purposes that recorded your crash—and which could provide identifying information about the driver or his vehicle. You want to contact the possible businesses quickly because surveillance tapes are often recorded over after a certain number of days.
- Door-to-door investigation. Another way you may be able to locate the other driver is to knock on the doors of homes and businesses in the vicinity of your accident. Someone may have witnessed the accident and noticed a detail that could help in the search for the driver.
- Motor vehicle records. If you have the license plate number of the vehicle that hit you, you may be able to obtain the driver’s name, address, and vehicle information from Georgia’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Experienced attorney. An experienced car accident attorney can help you investigate the identity of the hit and run driver and may have other suggestions as to how to locate him. Even if he is unable to locate the negligent driver for you, your attorney can assist you in identifying possible sources of compensation through your own insurance company. Reaching an agreement with your own insurance company can be challenging—especially when you suffered injuries and the value of your claim is substantial.
Importance of Pursing All Sources of Compensation in a Hit and Run Accident
You always want to look to obtain compensation from all available sources to increase the likelihood that you will be fully compensated. This is especially true in a hit and run accident. Even if you locate the driver, he may not have any insurance or only the basic liability insurance required in Georgia—$25,000/$50,000 coverage. This liability coverage could be inadequate to pay all of your medical bills, and you are entitled to be compensated for your lost wages and pain and suffering as well. While you may be able to sue the negligent driver, he most likely does not have sufficient income and other assets to pay the substantial amount you could be owed.
You do not want to make the mistake of going it alone if you were hurt in a hit and run accident. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.