Alpharetta Hit and Run Accident Lawyer

Hit-and-run accidents can happen to anyone. You could be driving to work, bicycling to a study session at the Alpharetta Branch Library, or walking for morning exercise when a driver hits you and flees the scene without providing contact information or trying to help you. This situation not only complicates the process of seeking financial compensation but also leaves accident victims feeling vulnerable and uncertain about their next steps.

If you or someone you love is injured in a hit-and-run accident, you deserve a strong legal advocate who knows how to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and property damage. At Horst Shewmaker, we have helped many victims of hit-and-run accidents win the settlement or verdict they need to rebuild their lives. We understand the stress and confusion that follows these accidents and can provide clear, actionable guidance to help you through this difficult time. 

Why Hire Us for Your Hit and Run Accident Claim?

After a hit-and-run accident, the path to recovery can be overwhelming. Our firm was founded on two core principles: Client service and results. We believe that every client deserves personalized attention and a strong advocate fighting for their rights. We also focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. When you hire Horst Shewmaker for your car accident claim, you benefit from the following advantages:

  • Experienced Lawyers Handling Your Case: At Horst Shewmaker, every case is handled by an experienced lawyer from start to finish. Unlike large law firms that delegate your claim to case managers, we ensure that you receive direct legal representation. We believe that working closely with an accident attorney is essential for achieving just results.
  • Comprehensive Legal Representation: We provide thorough legal representation throughout the entire process. From filing insurance claims to gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies, we manage every aspect of your case. Our goal is to secure the fair compensation you deserve while you focus on your recovery.
  • Proven Track Record: Our firm has successfully handled thousands of cases, recovering over $30 million in damages for our clients. Our track record demonstrates our ability to achieve favorable outcomes, whether through settlement negotiations or litigation.
  • Personalized Attention: We treat every client like family. Our approach is tailored to meet the unique needs of each case, ensuring that you receive the individual attention and care you deserve. We understand the emotional and financial toll of a hit-and-run accident and are here to support you every step of the way.
  • Support for Medical Treatment and Financial Needs: We assist you in obtaining the medical treatment you need without any up-front costs. If you require immediate financial assistance, we can help you secure a loan to cover your expenses. Our priority is to alleviate the financial burden so you can focus on healing.
  • Aggressive Negotiation and Litigation: We are committed to negotiating the highest possible settlement for your claim. If necessary, we are prepared to take your case to court to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Our aggressive approach in both negotiation and litigation aims to maximize your compensation.

At Horst Shewmaker, we understand the stress and uncertainty that follows a hit-and-run accident and will provide you with the legal representation and support you need during this challenging time. Let us handle the legal details while you focus on your recovery.

Understanding Hit and Run Accidents

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver involved in a collision leaves the scene without providing contact information or offering assistance to the injured persons. This is considered a serious offense in Georgia. Common scenarios include:

  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle Collisions: One motor vehicle hits another one and then speeds away without stopping.
  • Pedestrian Accidents: A negligent driver hits a pedestrian and leaves the scene.
  • Property Damage: A driver hits a parked car or other property and fails to report the incident or leave their information.

In Georgia, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident is a major traffic violation under O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-270. The legal implications for the at-fault driver can be severe, including:

  • Felony Charges: If the accident results in death or serious injury, the driver can be charged with a felony and serve one to five years of prison time.
  • Misdemeanor Charges: If the accident does not result in death or serious injury, the driver can still face up to $1,000 in fines or up to one year in prison.
  • License Suspension: The Department of Driver Services (DDS) may suspend the driver’s license for leaving the scene of an accident. Drivers under 21 years of age face mandatory license suspension.
  • Habitual Violator Status: A hit-and-run offense can be a strike against the driver. If they commit two more serious offenses within five years, they may be labeled a “habitual violator,” leading to license suspension and more severe consequences.

Victims of hit-and-run accidents often face significant challenges moving forward. They may suffer from severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the shock and fear associated with a hit-and-run can lead to long-term emotional distress. Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage can also create a substantial financial strain. Legal representation is recommended to ensure that victims’ rights are protected and that they receive the financial compensation they deserve.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Alpharetta

When you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident, your first priority is to ensure your safety and the safety of any passengers. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s important to get checked by a healthcare professional as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Next steps include:

  • Call the Police: Report the accident to the police right away. Provide them with all the details you can remember about the incident, including the make, model, color, and license plate number of the fleeing vehicle, if possible. A police report will be crucial for your insurance claim and any legal actions.
  • Gather Information: If there are any witnesses, collect their contact information and statements. Witnesses can provide valuable information about the accident and the vehicle that fled the scene. You should also take note of the exact location, time, and circumstances of the accident.
  • Document the Scene: Use your phone or a camera to take photos and videos of the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle, any injuries, and the surrounding area. These visual records can serve as important evidence.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Contact your insurance company to report the hit-and-run accident. Provide them with all the information you’ve gathered and follow their instructions for filing a claim. Your insurance policy may have coverage for hit-and-run incidents through uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
  • Seek Legal Assistance: Consult with an Alpharetta hit-and-run accident lawyer to understand your legal options. A lawyer can help you with the process of seeking compensation, whether through your insurance or by identifying and pursuing the at-fault driver.

Taking these steps after a hit-and-run accident in Georgia can help protect your rights and increase your chances of receiving the compensation you need to recover. If you have any questions or need assistance, contacting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can provide you with the guidance and support you need.

Who Pays You Compensation After a Georgia Hit and Run Accident?

After a hit-and-run accident in Georgia, determining who pays for your damages can be difficult, especially if the driver who caused the accident cannot be identified. Here’s how compensation typically works in these situations.

Identifying the Hit-and-Run Driver

In some cases, the police or investigators may uncover evidence that identifies the driver who fled the scene. This can happen when witnesses note the license plate number or surveillance cameras capture the incident. If the driver is identified, you can file an insurance claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages, just as you would in any other car accident case. This allows you to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.

Identifying the driver also opens up another avenue of damages for the injured party to recover:  Punitive damages.  Punitive damages are not compensatory damages.  Instead, punitive damages apply in those situations when a wrongdoer’s actions show willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1.  These damages seek to punish the wronger for his horrible conduct.  Committing a hit and run is exactly the type of offense which gives rise to a punitive damages claim.. Thus, every effort should be made to locate the hit-and-run driver.  

When the Driver Cannot Be Identified

If the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified, compensation for your damages will depend on the insurance coverage you carry. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, it covers your damages if the at-fault driver is uninsured, underinsured, or leaves the scene of the accident. Under O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11, drivers must opt out of UM coverage in writing, meaning many people have it without realizing it.

UM coverage can pay for:

  • Medical care and related expenses
  • Lost wages due to time off work
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Damages for anyone driving your vehicle with your permission.
  • Damages for passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident.

Your UM policy limits typically match those of your auto liability coverage, providing a significant safety net in hit-and-run cases. If you do not have UM coverage, you may still be able to recover some of your losses through other insurance policies, such as your health insurance or collision coverage, which pays for vehicle repairs regardless of fault.

Punitive damages cannot be recovered against a UM carrier.  Only the compensatory damages outlined above may be recouped.  

How Can an Alpharetta Car Accident Lawyer Help?

Dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident can be stressful and confusing. Although you are not legally obligated to seek legal counsel for help with your claim, doing so has firm benefits that can make a difference in your case. They include:

  • Legal Advice and Guidance: A car accident lawyer can help you understand the laws relevant to your case and advise you on the best course of action. This guidance is essential for making informed decisions about your claim.
  • Investigating the Accident: Auto accident lawyers have the resources and experience needed to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident. This includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts if necessary. A detailed investigation helps build a strong case to support your claim.
  • Calculating Damages: An experienced attorney can help calculate all your losses, including medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. This comprehensive assessment ensures that you seek adequate compensation.
  • Handling Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult, but an experienced lawyer can handle all communications with insurance adjusters. They can negotiate with the insurance company to seek a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
  • Filing Necessary Paperwork: The legal process involves a lot of paperwork, from filing claims to submitting court documents. A knowledgeable attorney can manage all the necessary paperwork, ensuring that everything is filed correctly and on time. This reduces the risk of administrative errors that could delay or jeopardize your claim.
  • Representing You in Court: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your lawyer can represent you in court. They will present your case, argue on your behalf, and work to secure a favorable verdict. Having a skilled lawyer by your side in court can significantly increase your chances of success.

Having a lawyer on your side provides peace of mind, knowing that a professional is handling your case. This allows you to focus on your recovery and well-being while your lawyer works to achieve the ideal outcome for you.

FAQS

How Long Do I Have to File a Hit and Run Claim in Georgia?

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those resulting from hit-and-run accidents, is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means you have two years to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. If you are filing a claim for property damage resulting from a hit-and-run accident, such as damage to your vehicle, the time limit is four years from the date of the accident. 

While these deadlines may seem generous, it is important to act promptly after a hit-and-run accident. Delaying your claim can complicate the process of gathering evidence, locating witnesses, and identifying the at-fault party. Additionally, insurance companies often require prompt reporting of accidents, and delaying could impact your ability to recover under your policy.

How Can I Afford Legal Representation?

Many personal injury lawyers, including those like Horst Shewmaker, handle hit-and-run cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay any legal fees upfront. Instead, your lawyer will take a percentage of the settlement or court award as their fee. If you do not win your case, you do not owe any legal fees. This arrangement allows you to access legal representation without worrying about initial costs.

If you need immediate financial assistance for medical bills or other expenses, some law firms can help you secure a loan. These loans can provide you with the necessary funds to cover your expenses while your case is being resolved. Be sure to discuss this option with your lawyer if you are facing financial difficulties.

Get a Free Consultation From an Alpharetta Hit and Run Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, don’t wait to seek the help you need. Contact Horst Shewmaker in Alpharetta and take the first step toward recovery. Let us handle the legal details while you focus on your healing and well-being. To learn more or schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, call 404-400-1175 or contact us online today.

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