A record number of hit-and-run accident deaths are occurring nationwide, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Atlanta, in particular, is struggling with a large number of fatal pedestrian accidents caused by hit and run drivers.
Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in Georgia and carries significant criminal penalties.
OCGA § 40-6-270 requires drivers to stop and/or return to the scene of any accident resulting in property damage, and to render aid to any injured parties, even if that just means calling 911. Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Hit-and-Run Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims
Our Atlanta hit-and-run accident lawyers at Apolinsky & Associates LLC, know it’s victims and their families who bear the true cost. When death occurs, families are left to wonder whether emergency medical care might have saved a loved one. And, while an estate would usually pursue a wrongful death claim against an at-fault driver, those victimized by a hit-and-run driver often feel as though they have nowhere to turn.
Both those dealing with wrongful death and those dealing with hit-and-run with injury should consult an experienced hit and run accident lawyer in Atlanta. Preservation of evidence and a comprehensive understanding of a victim’s condition are both critical from the earliest stages.
In many cases, a hit-and-run driver is later identified and located. In today’s connected world, there is often video-camera evidence of a collision available in the immediate aftermath. Preserving a case is critical to both criminal and civil claims.
Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Claims in Georgia
AAA reports a hit-and-run accident now occurs every minute in the United States. Nearly 700,000 of these accidents occur annually, claiming more than 2,000 lives. Two-thirds of fatal accidents involved bicyclists or pedestrians.
Having uninsured (UM)/underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage is among the best things you can do to protect the financial well being of you and your family.
Georgia auto insurance law requires all motorists to carry minimum bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence. This protection is meant to protect other motorists in the event you cause a collision. Choosing UM/UIM coverage will protect you and your family after a crash.
OCGA 33-7-11 provides motorists the option of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage either stacked or unstacked. Changes to the law in 2008 have allowed insurance companies to create confusion while reducing claims. For purposes of a hit-and-run accident in which the at-fault driver is never located, either of these policies will pay benefits up to the policy limits.
Before Jan. 2009, O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(b)(1)(D) permitted damages under a UM policy only to the extent the total amount of UM coverage exceeded the total amount of liability coverage available to the at-fault driver. Dewberry v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company, 197 Ga. App. 248, 249, 398 S.E.2d 266 (1990).
- Unstacked UM/UIM policy will only pay an award over and above policy limits of an at-fault driver – and even then only if you are carrying higher limits. For example, if you have $25,000 UM/UIM and the at-fault driver has $25,000 bodily injury, $25,000 is the maximum amount of insurance money available even if you get a $50,000 verdict!
- Stacked coverage allows for recovery from both $25,000 policies in our example. Because UM/UIM coverage is meant to protect motorists in the event a driver has no insurance or lacks adequate insurance, stacked coverage offers better protection.
The foregoing answers are not legal advice and are merely a general overview. You are advised to consult a lawyer to address your specific situation regarding your situation. For more information or to inquire about a free consultation, contact the experienced Atlanta injury attorneys at Apolinsky & Associates at (404) 377-9191 or send us an email.