A report revealed that Dekalb County, Georgia makes the list of the top 50 counties in the country with the most hit-and-run fatalities. A Georgia hit-and-run is one of the worst violations drivers in the state may face. If a driver is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, they may have a steep fine to pay, have their license suspended and face jail time. To avoid the legal and financial ramifications of leaving the scene of an accident, it is vital to understand what to do if you are involved in a hit-and-run in Georgia.
Hit-and-runs in Georgia
Most people think of a hit-and-run as striking a pedestrian or car and speeding off before the victim can obtain your information. Although the scenario is a well-known one, there are other types of hit-and-runs. Scratching a vehicle, even by accident, and continuing to drive away without letting the car owner know is one example.
Georgia hit-and-run laws
A hit-and-run in Georgia is a serious matter. According to Georgia hit-and-run law, if injury or death is the result, you could be charged with a felony. Even if you caused minimal damage to another vehicle or someone’s property, the hit-and-run Georgia statute specifies that not stopping (or not returning) to provide your information could be considered a crime. Here is what type of penalties you may face, depending on how severe the infraction is:
- Property damage: Misdemeanor and a fine of $300 to $1,000 per violation
- Injury: A fine of $300 to $1,000 and possible imprisonment for up to one year
- Death: A felony charge plus imprisonment of one to five years
Besides the fines and legal consequences of leaving the scene, your car insurance could be canceled or become more expensive.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Georgia
Car insurance companies will set premiums based on a person’s driving habits (among other factors). Safe drivers with no accidents typically get the lowest premiums. Drivers who leave the scene of an accident they caused may be considered dangerous, reckless and more likely to be involved in other serious accidents. Higher-risk drivers will pay more for car insurance. In the case of a hit-and-run in Georgia, car insurance could cost almost double what a standard driver would pay for coverage.
Average annual full coverage premiums:
|Before a hit-and-run||After a hit-and-run||After a standard accident|
4 things to do after a hit-and-run in Georgia
If you cause an accident or collide with a person, vehicle or object, it is essential to know what to do so you are not charged with fleeing from a crash.
- Stop or go back: It is essential to stop immediately and check if anyone has been injured or needs help. Safety should be the number one priority. While there are other important steps to take, the first one is to stop or return to the crash site. To minimize the risk of causing a more severe accident, park to the side of the road in a safe place that does not tie up traffic or cause further accidents.
- Call for help: Call 911 for an ambulance if someone has been injured. Even if the injury appears minimal, it is important to get a medical professional to determine how serious the injury is.
- Leave a note: If no one was present when you collided into someone’s property, leaving a note with your contact information and an explanation of what happened is legally required.
- Contact your insurance company: Once you have made sure that injured parties are safe and medically attended to, you can contact your insurance company and give them a summary of what happened. Depending on the type of coverage you have, some or all of your expenses may be reimbursed by your carrier.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Full coverage car insurance is generally the best type of insurance in the event of a hit-and-run. Minimum vehicle insurance typically only adds liability coverage, which pays for third-party injuries and expenses.
Full coverage adds collision coverage which pays for the damages to your vehicle, even if you were at fault. And if you were the victim of the hit-and-run, uninsured motorist coverage covers your expenses if you are unable to determine who struck you or your vehicle.
Frequently asked questions
How much does my car insurance go up after a hit-and-run?
If you were at fault in a hit-and-run, you can typically expect to see your premiums nearly double. Bankrate’s found that the average annual insurance premium after a Georgia hit-and-run is $3,848.
How much does car insurance cost?
Bankrate’s study on the average cost of car insurance found that U.S. rates are $565 per year for minimum car insurance and $1,674 per year for full coverage. You may pay more or less based on the car insurance company you choose, the state you live in and your driving record.
Who pays after a hit-and-run accident?
In Georgia, the driver at fault is responsible for the costs of an accident. However, if the person flees the scene and their information is unknown, the victim’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage could pay for the damages.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident and hit-and-run.