Hit and Run Accidents
Most states have specific statutes which require a motorist who is involved in a vehicle collision or pedestrian collision that involves a motor vehicle to stop, and to remain at the collision scene. When a motorist fails to remain at the scene of an accident, a separate and distinct cause of action for punitive damages is allowed under Georgia law. This duty to stop and render aid is required un der Georgia law and is imposed upon a motorist involved in an accident whether or not they are responsible for the cause of the accident. A motorist is not relieved of their duty to stop at the collision site and identifying themselves by the fact that the person struck or injured is unconscious or dead. Under these hit and run statutes a person can be held liable for both civil and criminal penalties for not complying with these humanitarian statutes.
The law in Georgia is quite clear concerning the duty of a driver to stop at an accident scene. O.C.G.A. 40-6-270 (a) states, "The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident". If a vehicle driver, fails to carry out his/her duty as a driver and flees the accident scene, then, in that event, they can be held liable under this Georgia statute. See O.C.G.A. 40-6-270 . The fact that a hit and run driver fled the scene of an accident in violation of Georgia law (hit and run driver) would entitle the injured person to an additional claim for punitive damages. See Bellamy v. Edwards, 181 Ga. App. 887, 889(3)(1987) and Battle v. Kilcrease, 54 Ga. App. 808 (1936).
The action on the part of any driver in leaving the scene of an accident, is outrageous and it would be interpreted under Georgia law that such conduct was done with a conscious disregard for the consequences, which conduct would entitle the injured victim to an additional claim for punitive damages in accordance with Georgia law. Additionally, when a case involving a hit and run collision case is presented to a jury the question of why the person fled the scene will undoubtedly come up. It is feasible that the jury would conclude that the hit and run driver fled the accident scene due to the fact that he or she had prior outstanding warrants or that he or she was driving under the influence of alcohol, which fact would also entitle the injured victim to a claim for punitive damages.
Here at Falanga and Chalker we are fully aware of how to pursue all of an injured victims claims for recovery and the additional damages that an injured victim may be entitled to under the particular facts as developed when properly investigating each case. If your case involves a hit and run driver, then you should fill out the contact form on this web site so that Falanga and Chalker can work to recover all of the damages that you are entitled to in your wrongful death or personal injury claim.