State laws typically require a driver to stop after causing an accident that results in either bodily injuries or property damage. If you were in a hit-and-run with no damage at all, then the failure to stop and render assistance may be poor etiquette, but it is not illegal.
If, however, you sustained a bodily injury but no property damage (or vice versa), the driver should have stopped, and you have a right to seek compensation. Our Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you do so.
Assessing Damages After a Hit-and-Run
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it may be hard for you to fully appreciate or comprehend the scope of the damage done. You and your car may seem fine at first, only to start experiencing problems a few hours or days later.
To protect yourself, your property, and your legal rights, it is a good idea to seek help from the following parties:
Seeing a Doctor After a Hit-and-Run
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself. Receiving prompt medical care can prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering. A doctor can either confirm you are uninjured or establish a connection between the accident and your injuries.
If you do end up needing treatment, make sure to do everything your doctor advises. This can show that you truly were injured, even if the injury was not “serious,” and help establish your need for reimbursement from the auto insurance company.
Law Enforcement Can Search for a Hit-and-Run Driver
If you do end up needing compensation, the only way you can get it from the liable party is if the police are able to track them down. In addition, hit-and-runs are illegal, and any driver who commits this crime should be held accountable.
Call 911 before you leave the accident scene and wait for a police officer to arrive. Answer their questions honestly, without exaggeration, and to the best of your abilities. Even a partial license plate number could help. Your lawyer can use the resulting accident report to support your case, should you file one.
A Mechanic Can Check Your Car for Damage
Just like with a person, a car can suffer damage but not show signs of it immediately. The last thing you want is to get into another accident because of damage that was not obvious to the naked eye.
Explain to the mechanic what happened during the accident and if you have noticed anything unusual about your car (e.g., strange sounds or movements) since then. This will give them a better idea of where to look for possible damage.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Hiring a Hit-and-Run Attorney After an Accident With No Damage
Another important source of assistance after a hit-and-run is a personal injury law firm. They can tell you all about your rights, such as how you can:
- Either sue the hit-and-run driver for damages or pursue a claim through your own insurance
- Prove that you deserve money for physical pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, and lost wages, even if the crash did no visible damage to your vehicle
- Determine if the insurance provider makes you a fair offer—or keep negotiating for a better settlement
- Communicate with the insurer in ways that do not jeopardize your rights
- Pursue fair damages without having to manage your entire case by yourself at the same time as you are still processing the accident
Should You Sue After an Accident That Causes No Damage?
It is up to you and your lawyer to decide if the damage you suffered is too small to warrant a lawsuit. However, it is still important to go through the process of receiving legal, medical, and mechanical help so you can be completely sure of your decision.
Laws Pertaining to Hit-and-Run Accidents and Recovering Damages
If you were in a hit-and-run, with or without damage, you have certain rights and responsibilities. These include:
Getting Help From the Hit-and-Run Driver
Each state has its own laws that dictate what at-fault drivers should do following a crash. Georgia drivers, for instance, must obey O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270, which explains when an accident driver must stop and what tasks they must complete after doing so:
- Any time a driver causes an injury, death, or property damage, they are legally obligated to stop.
- They must stop as close to the scene as possible.
- They must provide the person they hit with their name and address and, upon request, their driver’s license.
- They must ensure that all injured parties get appropriate medical attention.
The Statute of Limitations in Hit-and-Run Cases
Most states give you a few years to start a legal case after an injury. Again, using Georgia as an example, the limit in this state is two years, as stated in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Put simply, if you do not file your case within two years of a Georgia accident, you give up your right to recover compensation. This can complicate matters if you were hit by a driver who cannot be found in a timely fashion. Talk to your lawyer if you have any doubts or concerns about your case.
Insurance Protection From Hit-and-Run Drivers
In Georgia, you are only legally required to carry liability insurance, according to the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire (OCI). Such coverage pays out to anyone you injure in a crash. It does not pay for any damage or injuries you yourself sustain.
Physical damage and uninsured motorist insurance are both optional in Georgia. They are the policies you can turn to if you need money after a hit-and-run accident. Your car accident attorney can help you file an insurance claim, even if your damage is relatively minor.
Click to contact our personal injury lawyers today
Seeking Justice After a Hit-and-Run, Damage or No Damage
Kaine Law can help you figure out what to do if you were in a hit-and-run with no damage. You can start by contacting our office and receiving a free consultation from a member of our team. We will not charge you attorney’s fees unless and until we win money for you.