In most cases, the parties involved in a car accident remain at the scene, exchange contact and insurance information, and wait for the police to arrive. In some cases, however, the at-fault driver flees the scene. These people are usually fleeing the scene because they don’t have insurance, but it may be because they are undocumented immigrants or they have a warrant out for their arrest. In some cases, the driver may be intoxicated, confused (if the driver is elderly), or simply panicked. Whatever the reason, hit-and-run accidents can be very complicated if you’re injured.
What to Do First
If you’re reading this, you have hopefully already given whatever details you to have to the police regarding the driver and the vehicle. If you haven’t, you should contact the police as soon as possible, file a report, and cooperate fully with their investigation. You should also report the accident to your insurance company. More importantly, you should get checked out by your doctor.
Following those very first steps, you should follow-up with the police to see if they have been able to locate the driver. If they have, it will significantly affect how you proceed with your case. If they haven’t, your persistence may keep them from forgetting about your case.
From the very outset and throughout the process, you want to keep very detailed records regarding the accident, any property damage (such as damage to your car), medical expenses, and other expenses such as lost wages.
Making a Claim with Your Insurance Company
If the at-fault driver cannot be located, your only option may be to make a claim for your injuries against your own insurance policy under your uninsured motorist coverage. You should make this claim as soon as possible, as some insurance policies have strict deadlines for making the claim. The claim may take a little longer to get resolved, but it will proceed just like any other claim. If you think you’ve been seriously injured, you should not accept any immediate settlement offers, as they may compromise your rights later on. You want to make sure that all your medical bills are covered so that you can make a full recovery.
One major difference with uninsured motorist claims is that you can’t sue your insurance company if you can’t get the claim resolved. Instead, you likely are going to have to submit the claim to arbitration, a quasi-judicial process that will render a ruling. In most cases, the arbitration process is binding, meaning that you won’t have any ability to appeal the ruling.
Hiring an Attorney
You may think that there is no point in hiring an attorney since you can’t sue anyone. But attorneys do much more than just file lawsuits – they can help you evaluate your claim, navigate the insurance process, and represent you in the arbitration case if necessary.
Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, it’s worth your time to at least talk to a lawyer about your options. The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have been helping accident victims since 1992. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email today.