Will Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply to a Hit and Run Accident in Georgia?
Hit and run drivers cause a surprising number of fatal car accidents in Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, more than 111 pedestrians have been killed on state roads this year – an increase of 16 percent from this time last year. In 2017, 260 pedestrians were killed on state roads, up from 232 in 2016. In 2016, Georgia ranked fourth in the United States for the most fatal hit-and-run crashes.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed in a hit-and-run car accident, we urge you to contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer. Hit and run car accident cases are challenging, especially if the police cannot locate the at-fault driver. Often, you must sue you own uninsured motorist carrier if the police cannot locate the driver that injured you. The lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC have recovered millions of dollars for auto accident victims. We’re not afraid to litigate difficult cases.
Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage May Cover Your Losses
Even when hit and run accidents aren’t fatal, they can be very traumatic. You might worry that there will be no insurance coverage to cover your medical bills, lost wages, or your pain and suffering. Fortunately, if you purchased uninsured motorist coverage from your own insurance carrier, that coverage may apply.
Here are a few rules of thumb when purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage:
- If your total family household income is at least $40,000, you should purchase $50,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage per person with a maximum of $100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage per accident.
- If your total household income exceeds $75,000, you should purchase
$100,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage per person with a maximum of $300,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage per accident.
- If your total household income exceeds $100,000, you should purchase
$250,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage with a maximum of $500,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage per accident.
- If you own a home, you should purchase a $1 million dollar excess (a.k.a. “umbrella) policy that stacks on top of your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage.
You might think that those additional coverages will cost you tons of additional money. In reality, it usually won’t cost you more than $20-$50 per month. When you consider that that small additional investment may give you hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even a million dollars of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage, the decision to purchase additional coverage is a no-brainer.
Collect As Much Information As Possible Whenever You’re Injured In A Car Accident
There are generally three types of hit and run cases:
- A driver hits your parked car while you’re shopping and then leaves the scene without leaving his/her contact information.
- A driver hits your vehicle and momentarily stops to talk with you. Then, the driver leaves the scene before the police arrive.
- A driver hits your vehicle and never stops.
Hit and run parking lot property damage cases are frustrating, but the property damage usually isn’t too bad and your own insurance carrier will typically cover the damage (less your deductible). The other two types of hit and run scenarios are more problematic.
If the hit and run driver stops and talks with you before leaving the scene, you should always request the driver’s contact information and insurance information. The other driver might suggest that you don’t call the police. Don’t listen to him. You should always call 9-1-1 after a collision.
If you don’t collect the at-fault driver’s contact information or insurance information, and you also don’t contact the police, you can’t pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance carrier. Additionally, if you pursue a claim against your own uninsured motorist carrier, they might deny the claim by claiming that you staged the car accident because you didn’t call the police.
If the at-fault driver never stops, you should carefully observe his vehicle to collect as much information about it as possible – the color, make, and model, for instance. You should also write down the license plate number. The more information you can collect, the likelier it is that the police will be able to track down the driver.
Tracking down the driver is important, because if the driver can be located, you can then make a claim against the driver’s auto liability insurance carrier, as well as your own underinsured motorist carrier if the liability insurance policy doesn’t fully cover your injuries and you purchased stacking underinsured motorist coverage.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a hit and run car accident, you should hire an Atlanta car accident lawyer that knows how to prove a hit and run case. For instance, if the car accident occurred at a busy intersection, your attorney might be able to collect surveillance footage from one of the businesses that is nearby that intersection. The surveillance footage might reveal the make and model of the hit and run driver’s vehicle, his license plate number, and what he looks like if he got out of the vehicle to speak with you. All of that information can help the police officer identify the hit and run driver.
Even if there isn’t any surveillance footage, your attorney still might be able to work hand-in-hand with the police officer if you’re able to provide a description of the at-fault driver’s vehicle or his license plate. If the police are unable to locate the hit and run driver, your attorney can help you pursue an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurance carrier, if you purchased that coverage.
The attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC have over three decades of experience successfully litigating insurance claims. Call us today at (404) 419-6674, or reach out through our online form to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.