When most people get into an accident the expectation is that all parties will remain at the accident scene while information is being collected. It can be quite traumatic for an individual to find out that in addition to being involved in an accident, the person responsible has driven off in an attempt to avoid detection. The typical reasons someone drives off after causing an automobile accident are (1) a lack of insurance and (2) avoiding liability from the commission of a crime.
The case involving an “at fault” party who leaves the scene of an accident is referred to by law enforcement as a hit and run. Under the Georgia code O.C.G.A. §40-6-270 the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, the death of a person or damage to a vehicle shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident and
- Give his or her name, address and registration
- Exhibit driver’s license number upon request
- Render reasonable assistance
Failure to abide by the requirements in this statute would expose an individual to a criminal charge of Hit and Run under the Official Code of Georgia. The penalty risk under this statute can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the injury caused. Needless to say, there are certain inferences that are created by an individual’s failure to remain at the scene after an accident. When we see individuals fleeing the scene of an accident it is typically because they were involved in the commission of a crime at the time of the accident. It is all too common the scenario where a driver is intoxicated or in possession of illegal narcotics and flees an accident scene to avoid arrest. The good news is that persons who commit hit and run offenses are usually apprehended. In the context of a personal injury, it is difficult for an individual to overcome the negative inferences associated with fleeing an accident scene. Most jurors would believe fear of possible arrest is the most obvious reason to flee. This would place the “at fault” party at a considerable disadvantage in front of a jury.
If the motive behind the flight is the lack of insurance the injured party’s uninsured motorist coverage would be available to provide relief. Regardless of the motive behind the “at fault” party’s flight from an accident, the law enforcement investigation will be thorough. This may yield positive alcohol or drug tests, body camera footage of a failed sobriety tests and incriminating admissions. It is important to consult with an experienced hit and run injury law attorney to learn all of your options. Our office will work with law enforcement to track the status of the criminal case, obtain investigative summaries and ensure that your case is ready to negotiate and win at trial, if needed. The Faucette Law Firm, LLC specializes in automobile accidents in Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Fayette, Clayton, Henry and Douglas. Contact our office today for a consultation.