Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents — in Atlanta, Georgia and throughout the United States — occur with remarkable frequency. According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 11 percent of police-reported motor vehicle crashes involve at least one hit-and-run driver (fleeing the scene), and hit-and-run accidents account for nearly 1,500 deaths annually. Though hit-and-run accidents can victimize anyone, the statistics reveal that they predominantly affect injured pedestrians — in fact, nearly 60 percent of hit-and-run victims are pedestrians.
If you have suffered injuries in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to recover damages as compensation for your injuries, pursuant to Georgia law. Connect with Ponton Law to setup a free consultation with a skilled Atlanta hit-and-run accident attorney — call (404) 418-8507 today.
Liability for a Hit-and-Run Accident in Atlanta or Elsewhere in Georgia
In many hit-and-run cases, plaintiffs mistakenly that — purely by virtue of the defendant having collided with them and fled the scene — the defendant is presumptively liable to them for damages. That the defendant “fled” is seen by some as de facto evidence that they are, in fact, guilty of wrongdoing.
The reality, however, is that a defendant having been involved in a hit-and-run accident is not proof in and of itself of the defendant’s liability. Though the defendant having fled the scene will certainly undermine their arguments, it is not enough to find liability — to succeed in proving that the defendant was liable for your injuries, you will have to show that the defendant either acted negligently, recklessly, or intentionally in operating their vehicle, thus causing your injuries.
Georgia law requires that motorists involved in an accident stop and make reasonable efforts to help others. Further, they must identify themselves to the other motorists involved in the accident for insurance and liability purposes. Fleeing the scene in Atlanta or anywhere else in the state may therefore lead to additional liability where the defendant’s behavior exacerbated your injuries.
Identifying the Defendant and Litigating Your Claim
Identifying the defendant is a critical issue in hit-and-run accident scenarios. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you can investigate and potentially identify the hit-and-run defendant by:
- Identifying and gathering the contact information of witnesses at the scene of the accident
- Investigating video and photographic evidence of the accident that may have been recorded by public entities, or by nearby private businesses
- License plate information
- Vehicle identification
- Working with authorities to identify related incidents
- And more
Once you have identified the defendant, they could still attempt to evade the lawsuit. In such cases, you may be able to obtain a default judgment against the absentee defendant and recover damages. If you cannot identify the defendant, you may still be able to recover damages by making a first-party insurance claim with your own insurer.
Let Ponton Law Help
Here at Ponton Law, we are well-equipped to handle the challenges of litigating a hit-and-run case, from identifying the defendant to evidentiary issues, and everything in-between. Attorney James Ponton is a former insurance defense attorney who switched over to the plaintiff-side of litigation in 2008. Since then, he has represented plaintiffs in numerous personal injury lawsuits, including those involving hit-and-run scenarios, and now boasts a long track record of success in helping injured clients obtain compensation for their injuries.
Have you been injured in a hit-and-run accident? Even if you believe that you do not have sufficient evidence to identify the defendant, with further investigation — and the assistance of an experienced Atlanta hit-and-run accident attorney — you may be able to find the liable party and bring an action for recovery against them. Call (404) 418-8507 to setup a free consultation with Attorney James Ponton today.