Being involved in a hit-and-run accident is always a stressful and confusing experience. If the other driver hit your vehicle and fled the scene of the accident, you might wonder, “How do I recover damages after a hit and run accident?”
In all other car accident cases, you can obtain compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance. But what happens if the driver who hit you left the accident scene without providing their name or contact/insurance information?
Luckily, you may still be able to recover damages after a hit-and-run accident. Your compensation options following the accident depend on your car insurance coverage. Contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney to discuss your particular case and determine compensation for your damages and losses.
At Howe.Law, our experienced and dedicated attorneys have decades of experience helping victims of hit and run accidents seek compensation for their injuries. Call 844-876-4357 to receive a free, no-obligation consultation.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
The term “hit and run” is used for three different types of car accidents:
- Your car is hit in a parking lot/space when you were not around
- Someone hit your car while your vehicle was in motion and fled the scene
- Someone hit your car while you were walking or riding a bicycle and left the scene
The laws in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi prohibit drivers from leaving the scene of a car accident. However, under state law, motorists are legally required to stay at the accident location. They should also provide their contact and insurance information to other parties involved.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Scene of a Car Accident?
While each case is unique, there are various reasons drivers flee the scene of a car accident. A driver may leave the scene of an accident even if they are not at fault. Reasons drivers fail to stay at the scene of a car crash include:
- They did not realize they were involved in the car accident
- The driver did not have a valid driver’s license
- They are driving someone else’s car without permission
- The drive did not have auto insurance
- They are driving while intoxicated
- They know they are at fault for the crash but do not want to face the penalties
No matter why a driver fled the scene of your accident, you need to understand how to pursue compensation for your damages and losses.
What Are Your Options if You Have an Injury from a Hit and Run Accident?
Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi have fault-based car insurance systems. This means a victim of a hit and run accident has only two options to recover damages:
- Wait until the police find the driver who fled the scene. If another driver fled the scene of your car crash, the local police would investigate to locate the hit-and-run driver. You can assist in the police investigation to help the police track down the motorist who fled the scene. Ensure that you provide all details that you can remember. Include the driver’s description and the vehicle’s description (model, make, color, at least a portion of the license plate number).
- Seek compensation through your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. For example, suppose you acquire an injury in a hit-and-run accident and have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance. In that case, you might be able to recover damages through your UM coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi, so many drivers in these states do not purchase UM coverage. If you do not have UM coverage and the police cannot find the driver who fled the accident scene, you need to consult with an attorney to determine how you can obtain compensation for your damages and losses in your particular case.
Recovering Damages After a Hit and Run in Georgia
If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you might be able to seek compensation for your losses and damages through your car insurance company. In Georgia, uninsured motorist coverage pays for your damages and losses if the other driver:
- Does not have auto insurance; or
- Fled the scene of the accident.
While uninsured motorist coverage is not a requirement in Georgia, many drivers do not realize that they have UM coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. For this reason, you need a skilled attorney to review your insurance policy or check with your insurance company to determine whether or not you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Recovering Damages After a Hit and Run in Tennessee
Tennessee follows the fault-based insurance system, which means the driver who caused your injury can be held responsible for your resulting damages and losses. However, you may not be able to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company if the driver flees the scene of the crash.
In Tennessee, drivers who acquire an injury in a hit-and-run accident may be able to use their health insurance to cover some of their medical expenses following the collision. In addition, you may be able to use your car insurance to cover your damages and losses if you have:
- Uninsured motorist coverage. Under Tennessee law, you can obtain compensation for your damages if you acquire an injury in a car crash caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.
- MedPay. If you added MedPay coverage to your auto insurance policy, you might be able to seek compensation for your medical bills up to the policy limits.
- Umbrella insurance. Even if your medical expenses and other losses exceed your policy limits, you can obtain additional compensation above the policy limits if you have umbrella insurance.
Recovering Damages After a Hit and Run in Mississippi
When a driver is responsible for causing your car accident, that driver’s insurance can compensate you for your damages and losses. However, when an at-fault driver flees the scene of a car accident without providing their contact and insurance information, you may not be able to obtain compensation through that driver’s insurance coverage.
Luckily, you may still be able to recover damages after a hit and run accident in Mississippi if you or someone in your household has uninsured motorist coverage as part of their auto insurance policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage can be used to cover an injured victim’s losses and damages when the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance or committed a hit and run accident. When pursuing an uninsured motorist claim after a hit and run accident, it is advisable to speak with an attorney to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
Any car accident can be an intimidating and stressful experience, but even more so if the other driver fled the scene. If you are in a hit and run accident, there are specific steps you should take to preserve your rights to obtain compensation:
- First, call 911 or ask someone to call 911.
- Stay at the scene to wait for an ambulance to treat your injuries. Also, wait for the police to investigate the accident scene and prepare a police report.
- If your vehicle is drivable and you are physically able, move your vehicle to the side of the road to not obstruct traffic.
- Write down any information you remember about the fleeing driver, their vehicle, and other details. Ideally, you should describe the model, make, and color of the vehicle. You should also include a full or partial license plate number, and specify the driver’s gender and other characteristics.
- Talk to witnesses and write down their names and contact information. If the driver who caused your accident flees the scene of the crash, witness statements can play a crucial role in your ability to recover damages.
- Take photographs at the scene of the accident to document damage to your vehicle and the severity of your injuries.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Contact a car accident attorney to help you gain access to camera surveillance footage. The attorney will also conduct a thorough investigation to track down the driver who fled the scene.
At Howe.Law, our knowledgeable and results-driven attorneys are committed to helping you recover damages after a hit-and-run accident. We will also conduct an independent, in-depth investigation to track down the fleeing motorist.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney at Howe.Law
If you or your loved one has an injury from a hit-and-run accident, we highly recommend you consult with an attorney to understand your compensation options. Get a free, no-obligation consultation with our car accident attorneys at Howe.Law. We will discuss your hit and run accident case and get compensation for all your losses and damages despite the fact that the other driver fled the scene. Call 844-876-4357 today for a free consultation.