Getting injured in a car wreck is traumatic enough. A hit and run complicates the situation even more. If the at-fault driver flees, how do you find that person? If you don’t find the driver, how do you get compensated? If you do find the driver, how you make that person pay?
Unfortunately, most hit and run drivers evade the law after an accident. Unless your injuries were extremely severe, the police will not prioritize looking for the person—and so the lawbreaker usually slips away. In this more common scenario, you will still likely need a personal injury attorney to work with your insurance company.
If the driver flees and you cannot find him or her…
- Look to see what your uninsured / underinsured section of your car insurance policy covers. Without a person to hold accountable, this part of your insurance is usually the best bet for covering your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering expenses.
- Report the incident to police and provide as much information as you can. While it’s unlikely the police will pursue and find the person who hit you, it’s better to provide all information to the police and receive a report for your insurance company.
- Hire an attorney to negotiate with your insurance company. Insurance companies are unfortunately notorious for denying you as much compensation as possible for a hit and run case. You are at a negotiating disadvantage without an attorney.
If police do find the hit and run driver…
- Meticulously assess and document the extent of your injuries. Your chance at higher compensation increases to the extent that you can prove significant financial loss because of your injuries. Punitive damages (financial compensation awarded to you through punishing the offender) only occurs when the situation is clearly extreme and unusually morally wrong.
- Hire an attorney to ensure you receive punitive damages on top of your normal compensation. The prosecution of a hit and run driver can get legally confusing, especially if the driver is brought up on separate criminal charges. Hire an attorney to help you stay focused on civil charges related to your personal injury lawsuit so that you receive punitive damages above and beyond your normal compensation.
- Contact your district attorney about any criminal proceedings. Georgia has a victims’ compensation fund that you may have access to as a result of a criminal proceeding against the hit and run driver. Your attorney can help you navigate through this area of compensation.
In either situation, an attorney will help you analyze the feasibility of your case, maximize your compensation, and guide you through complex legal hurdles.