After a traffic accident occurs, Georgia motorists are required to remain at the scene of the crash until police arrive. Failure to do so can result in a mandatory driver’s license suspension and other penalties.
However, despite the consequences, some drivers choose to leave the scene of an accident. This can be extremely frustrating for crash victims and their families – especially if the at-fault driver can’t be identified.
Why are so many drivers leaving the scene of a crash?
Hit-and-run accidents are a problem in Macon-Bibb County, as in other places. In fact, hit-and-run fatalities happen almost six times per day across the United States, according to Mercury News. Additionally, 2015 saw an estimated 2,000 hit-and-run accidents daily on U.S. roads.
This raises the question: why are so many drivers leaving the scene of an accident?
Psychologist Emanuel Robinson explains that hit-and-run accidents are often the result of intense emotions drivers feel at the time of a crash. Some of them may become scared or extremely angry. This, in turn, may cause them to make the irrational decision to leave the scene of the crash, even if they regret doing so later.
Similarly, a study conducted by the University of Leicester in Britain analyzed 53 drivers responsible for hit-and-runs and found:
- 21 panicked at the time of the crash
- Seven were concerned about facing drunk driving charges
- Eight claimed that they had no idea the crash happened
- 13 thought the damages were too insignificant to report
Another common factor in hit-and-run accidents is drivers involved in illegal activity – impaired driving being the most common. A study by the Belgian Road Safety Institute scrutinized approximately 853 drivers who left the scene of an accident and found that 42 percent of them were drunk or drugged at the time of the crash.
Why hit-and-run accidents can be complex
At Jon R. Hawk, Sr., LLC, we’ve seen the frustration and confusion a hit-and-run accident can cause victims. That’s why it’s important to understand the nature of these accidents and how you can be prepared.
In Georgia, all motorists are required to carry liability insurance, which includes bodily injury and property damage liability. This means that if you’re able to identify the driver or write down the license plate number when he or she flees the scene of a crash, you can be compensated for any financial losses associated with that accident.
However, if you’re unable to identify a hit-and-run driver, you may be forced to pay for medical expenses and other damages out of your own pocket – unless you carry Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM). This type of coverage is optional but highly recommended. If an at-fault driver leaves the scene of a crash, UM will cover your medical expenses and lost wages, up to the policy limit.
If you’re unsure where to turn after a hit-and-run accident, it’s best to speak to an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you weigh your options. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.