Hit and run accident in Georgia car total loss
Hit and run is a crime you will have committed if you were involved in an accident but chose to flee the accident scene without stopping to share your contact information or offer help if any person is injured.
Whether you caused the accident or not, its a mandatory to stop at the accident scene or at the nearest safe point and share your contact information in addition to reporting the accident to the police.
In the USA, it is estimated that at least 700,000 hit-and-runs occur yearly and the majority of the victims are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
Hit and run just like any other car accident causes devastating financial losses to the victim. This is because, the victim will find it hard to get compensated since the other driver fled without leaving his/her insurance information.
In the event your car is totaled due to the hit and run, the victim may only foot the costs of repairing or replacing his car from his own savings or income. This is backed up by the fact that, only 5-10% of hit-and-run drivers are caught, \according to police.
But, how are hit-and-runs handled in Georgia? what are your options if your car is totaled due to a hit and run accident in Georgia? Do you understand hit and run laws in Georgia? well, let’s dive in and explore everything.
Understanding Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia
According to Traffic Data, there were at least 1,664 car accidents in the year 2020 Georgia. These traffic fatalities increased from 1,492 crashes that occurred in 2019.
According to GEORGIA HIT AND RUN ACCIDENTS, Georgia ranks 4th compared to other states with the highest number of hit-and-run accidents. The reason behind these high numbers of hit-and-runs in Georgia is attributed large number of people walking and biking.
In fact, Data has shown that more than 60% of hit-and-run accident victims in Georgia are largely pedestrians and bicyclists.
Notables causes of high hit and run accidents in Georgia are;
- Uninsured drivers
- Suspended driver’s license
- Driving stolen car
- Immigrants driving illegally and
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
Overview of Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia
According to Georgia car accident statistics, there were more than 1700 car accidents that occurred daily in the year 2000. From the same data source, at least 70 drivers were hurt daily in accidents and the total number of car accident injuries exceeded 600,000 in the same year.
Georgia hit and run
Definitely, hit and run contributes at least 4-25% of the injuries in the state of Georgia.
In Georgia, hit and run is a serious crime and is punishable by law. A driver commits a hit and run if he/she flees the accident scene irrespective of being at fault for the accident or not.
Georgia hit and run law
According to Georgia car accident laws, you are required to stop at the accident scene and do the following as far as hit and run accident is concerned.
- Render help to the injured person(s)
- Share your insurance information, registration, and license plate number
- Share your contact, address, location, and identification
- Report the accident to the police.
According to Georgia hit and run laws, you will be charged with a felony if the hit and run crime you committed involves severe injuries and or deaths.
On the other hand, if you committed a minor hit and run in Georgia (minor injuries or only car damages), be ready to face charges of a misdemeanor.
In Georgia, some of the penalties for fleeing the accident scene include up to 5 years of jail time, up to 5 months of suspended driver’s license, and a fine of up to $1,000. You should expect more harsh penalties if you committed a felony.
Georgia hit and run parked car
Hitting a parked car in Georgia and fleeing the scene is considered a hit and run crime in Georgia. You must stop at the scene, hunt for the driver and share contact information as I already explained earlier.
Alternatively, Georgia hit-and-run laws require you to leave a note once you hit a parked car but could not locate the driver.
The note you left behind should bear information like:
- Your identification (name, contact, address, etc)
- Your driver’s license information
- License plate information
- Car insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- A brief account of how the crash occurred.
If you are the hit and run victim, such information will help you to kick-start your car accident claim settlement through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The information will also assist police in carrying out further investigations.
Georgia hit and run statute
Georgia hit and run statute outlines the responsibilities of drivers involved in a car accident in Georgia.
In addition to what I already explained in this article, here are steps you should follow if you are involved in a car accident in Georgia.
1. Your safety. Ensure you and any other person involved in the accident is safe. Consider calling 911, or seeking medical attention right away after the crash.
2. Gather information. You must gather as much information as possible. Ensure you know and record the name of the driver or any other person involved in the accident, the names of eyewitnesses, contact information, and what caused the accident.
3. Gather evidence. Take photos of the personal injuries, car damages, license plate number, car color, witness statements, car accident footage from security cameras, etc.
4. Police accident report. Invite police to complete a crash report. You can also walk to the station or complete the report online. This report will help later if you intend to file a claim or a hit-and-run lawsuit.
5. Notify the insurance company. Each driver must notify his/her insurance company about the car accident within the agreed timeline. timeline.
Consequences of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
The consequences of leaving the accident scene are harsh. These consequences include civil penalties, criminal penalties, and administrative hit and run penalties.
Criminal penalties for leaving an accident scene include jail time and paying fines. In Georgia, a person who commits a hit and run felony faces jail time of up to 5 years, and pays fines of not less than $1,000.
If you committed a hit and run misdemeanor in Georgia, you could face penalties of up to 12 months in prison and fines of up to $1,000 depending on the circumstances of the offense you committed.
In Georgia, the administrative punishments for leaving an accident scene (hit and run) include revoking or suspension of your driving license.
The civil penalties of a hit and run in Georgia are almost similar for any at-fault car accident only that, the likelihood of a jury or judge awarding punitive and treble damages is higher for hit and runs.
Expect to pay the hit-and-run victims damages like medical bills, lost wages, lost potential to earn, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. For instance, the jury could ask you to pay the hit and run victim compensatory damages worth $70,000.
Punitive damages could be awarded to the victim just to punish the hit and run driver for his malicious behavior. For instance, the jury could decide to award $30,000 thus the victim ends up receiving $100,000.
If you committed a felony or any other serious hit and run, for instance, someone died out of your high-degree negligence, the jury or judge has the authority to treble the damages. In such a scenario, the jury could ask you to pay $70,000 x 3 = 210,000.
Dealing with a Total Loss Car in Georgia
An insurance company has many options for settling your financial losses following any car accident.
You may receive money to pay for the cost of repairing your car, or the insurance company could declare your car a total loss and choose to help you get a replacement.
The company will declare your car totaled once the car is deemed unsafe for driving even after repairs. In short, your car is damaged beyond safe repair. Your car will also be totaled if it costs more to repair it than it is to replace it.
Determining Total Loss in Georgia
In Georgia, insurance companies will declare your car totaled once the cost of repairing it exceeds the cost of buying a similar car depending on the current market value. Your car could also be totaled once the repair costs exceed 70-75% of its actual market value.
The actual cash value (ACV) or current market value is the sum of money you would have received if you sold your car just before the accident.
ACV= cost of new car – (depreciation + tear and wear)
Insurance Company’s Criteria for Total Loss
Here is an example. Suppose your car’s actual cash value just before the accident was $5,000, and the body shop estimates the cost to repair it to be $6,000. Your insurance company has no other option other than declaring your car total loss.
As I said earlier, some states allow insurance companies to declare your car a total loss once the repair costs exceed 70% of its market value. For instance, using the above scenario, you could still have your car totaled if the repair costs exceed $3,500.
Repair Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
I will explain this using an example. Suppose you bought your car at $30,000 today and you, unfortunately, had a crash 2 years ahead.
According to car depreciation, you should expect your car to depreciate by 20% after 1st year, and then by 15-25% every year for the next five years. Doing simple maths, your car will be worth $23,800 after years.
If your car has minor tears and wears, its actual cash value after 2 years should be around $23,800. Assume you had an accident that was not so severe that it requires your car to be totaled, then the body shop will give you an estimate of the cost to repair it.
For instance, it could cost approximately $400 to $1,000 to replace your car radiator.
So in short, the actual cash value of your car is the difference between the cost of a new car less by depreciation value. On the other hand, the repair cost is the amount of money you need to repair or replace a damaged part.
Can I keep my totaled car in Georgia?
Yes, you can keep your totaled car in Georgia, but you will need to negotiate with the insurance company.
Here is what happens if you need to keep your totaled car in Georgia. Assume the actual cash value of your car just before the accident was $23,800. Assume after the crash, the salvage value of your wreck is estimated to be $1,000.
After successful negotiations, the insurance company will pay you the actual cash value of your car less by salvage (wreck) value. So, you will walk home with $22,800 ie ($23,800- $1,000).
Options for Dealing with a Total Loss Car
Following a car accident in which your car is totaled, you have many options for dealing with the total loss. These include:
- Accept what the insurance offered as an actual cash value
- Negotiate with the insurance company for a higher fee by providing proof of what your car is worth
- Donate the totaled car to any charity organization
- Sell the totaled car
- Negotiate with the insurance car and keep your car after repairs.
who gets the insurance check when a car is totaled?
Most of us indeed drive non-owned cars. Some of us drive borrowed cars, and leased cars and others drive cars that are being financed.
Who gets the insurance check when a car is totaled depends on many factors like who owns the car, or who holds the highest interest in the totaled car.
The insurance check will be issued to you if you own the car, or to the leasing company if you were driving a leased car. The check will be addressed to the bank or to the company that financed your car.
There is also a situation where the insurance check will be issued to both you and the lien in case you were almost done paying off the car.
What happens when your car is totaled but still drivable?
If you live in a state where the insurance has the mandate to total cars as long as repair costs exceed 70% of the actual cash value, chances are the totaled car is still drivable.
Also, I have heard of situations where body shops connive with some insurance companies to total cars aimlessly if they think the salvage value will be higher.
If your car is totaled but still drivable, you could retain the car by negotiating with the insurance company as I already explained. The car will receive a salvage title from your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV). You will not drive it unless DMV inspects and certifies it.
What I need to remind you is that it won’t be easy for you to insure such cars, and their resale value is very low if not impossible.
what to do when your car is totaled and you still owe money?
Assume your $30,000 financed car is totaled and the insurance company wants to pay $26,000 as its actual cash value. Where will $4,000 come from?
Well, you will pay $4,000 from your own pockets or savings unless you bought Gap insurance on the financed car. Gap insurance will help you clear what you still owe on the car ie, $4,000.
Hit and run accident in Georgia car total loss In conclusion, any hit-and-run accident in Georgia can be a devastating experience, mainly if it results in a total loss of your favorite car.
Seeking the help of legal and insurance professionals can be essential in ensuring that you receive proper compensation for damages and can begin the process of rebuilding and recovery.
Remember to stay safe and alert on the roads to prevent future accidents.