Hit-and-run accidents involving motorcycles and passenger vehicles are all too common in Georgia. Drivers of larger vehicles may be distracted or fail to check their blindspots and end up tapping a motorcycle with just enough force to knock the motorcyclist off balance and cause an accident. But what should you do if you are hit in a motorcycle accident, and the driver leaves the scene? Our attorneys discuss hit-and-run laws in Georgia and what your rights are if you are hurt by a hit-and-run driver.
What Is Considered a Hit-And-Run Accident in Georgia?
A hit-and-run is an informal term used to describe an accident in which one of the drivers – usually the one that is at fault – drives away from the scene of the accident without fulfilling any of the legal obligations defined by law. This can happen because the driver may not have realized they collided with a smaller vehicle, such as a motorcycle or a bicycle.
However, in most cases, the driver is aware of what happened and leaves the scene in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the crash, such as being held financially responsible for any damages or facing traffic violation charges. What they may not realize is that leaving the scene of an accident can result in much harsher consequences.
Does Georgia Have Any Hit-And-Run Laws?
Georgia has several laws addressing hit-and-run accidents, the responsibilities of drivers involved in an accident, and the consequences for evading these responsibilities and leaving the scene of the accident. The main hit-and-run laws in the state are described in O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-270.
Drivers in Georgia are legally required to stay at the scene of the accident whenever the accident results in personal injuries, injuries to another party, or any type of property damage. The parties are required to provide each other with identification, address, and registration and make reasonable efforts to contact emergency medical services for any person who appears injured or deceased. Failing to fulfill these responsibilities by leaving the accident site can result in severe consequences.
Are There Consequences for Someone Who Leaves the Scene of an Accident?
In Georgia, leaving the scene of an accident is regarded as a serious traffic violation and a criminal offense, much like driving under the influence or fleeing from a law enforcement officer. This violation is not taken lightly – if the accident results in non-fatal injuries, the at-fault driver could be facing up to a year in prison and as much as $1000 in fines. If the accident resulted in any deaths, the traffic violation automatically becomes a felony, which could result in one to five years of prison time.
There may also be administrative consequences for hit-and-run drivers. A hit-and-run can result in license suspension and loss of driving privileges. Penalties for hit-and-run accidents can also be applied to drivers under the age of 21. In addition, if a driver is charged with a hit-and-run violation and later commits another serious violation, such as drunk driving, that driver may be labeled as a habitual violator and face license suspension as well as other consequences, such as termination of insurance coverage and civil liability for damages.
What Should a Motorcyclist Do if They Were Hurt in a Hit-And-Run Crash?
If you were a victim in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, your priority should be to get medical help right away. If possible, gather information from the accident site, including any eyewitnesses that can help you identify the hit-and-run driver, as well as pictures and videos documenting the crash. Then, reach out to a personal injury lawyer right away.
At The Scott Pryor Law Group, you can get the legal representation and advice you need to fight back and assert your rights as a hit-and-run victim. We can help you conduct an investigation of the crash and take the steps needed to seek compensation for your damages. But remember – the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to build a strong case on your behalf. Contact The Scott Pryor Law Group by calling 678-325-3434.