Leaving The Scene Of An Accident – Why You Should Never Drive Away

Georgia has very strict laws regarding how you should react immediately following an accident.  If you fail to follow those state guidelines, you could face criminal charges with serious penalties.  Leaving the scene of the accident is a crime that can often have harsher penalties that a DUI offense.

The law varies on the type of accident you were involved in:  property damage, bodily injury, or death.  No matter which type of accident, pull over and stop your vehicle in a safe place.

If you are in a parking lot and hit a parked car when backing out of your space, the law states that you should make a reasonable effort to contact the owner of the other vehicle, such as leaving a note on the windshield with your contact and insurance information.  This is not considered leaving the scene.

O.C.G.A. 40-6-271 (Duty upon striking unattended vehicle) states as follows:

(a) The driver of any vehicle which collides with any vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle doing the striking.

(b) Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

If you are involved in an accident that results in bodily injury, try to stay calm and make sure to stay at the scene.  Georgia law states that you have a legal obligation to help the injured person by calling an ambulance and reporting the accident to your local law enforcement.

According to Georgia law O.C.G.A. 40-6-270, (the Hit and Run statute):

(a) 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 and shall:

(1) Give his or her name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving;

(2) Upon request and if it is available, exhibit his or her operator’s license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with;

(3) Render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the transporting, or the making of arrangements for the transporting, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such transporting is requested by the injured person; and

(4) Where a person injured in such accident is unconscious, appears deceased, or is otherwise unable to communicate, make every reasonable effort to ensure that emergency medical services and local law enforcement are contacted for the purpose of reporting the accident and making a request for assistance. The driver shall in every event remain at the scene of the accident until fulfilling the requirements of this subsection. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(b) If such accident is the proximate cause of death or a serious injury, any person knowingly failing to stop and comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

BOTTOM LINE:

If you’re involved in an auto accident, STOP!

-Contact your local authorities.

-Help any injured parties.

-Give your contact information, vehicle registration number, and insurance information to the other party.

-Stay at the scene until all of these things are completed.

If you’ve been involved in a “hit and run” accident, you need someone to help you understand your rights.  Contact our experienced car accident attorneys today for your free consultation.  We’re here to protect your right to drive!  Call our office now for immediate attention.  (770) 217-4954