When a Driver Flees the Scene of a Crash with Injuries, There is Liability for Punitive Damages in Georgia


When a client is injured in a crash where the other driver leaves the scene, the fleeing driver is liable for punitive damages when they can be identified. We see examples of egregious roadway behavior on a regular basis, and the incidence of Georgia drivers fleeing the scene is on the rise.

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When a driver fails to stop for a collision to render assistance to a person that has been injured, the injured person’s lawyer can explain how to recover punitive damages and get a jury charge on negligence per se for those actions. Cheevers v. Clark 214 Ga.App. 866 (1994).

“The conduct of a hit-and-run driver of an automobile in failing to stop and give his name, etc., and render assistance to the person injured by him in the operation of his automobile along a public highway, may, in that it is in violation of a statute (OCGA § 40-6-270] ), be regarded as negligence as a matter of law. Although when taken alone such conduct may have no causal connection with the act which caused the injuries, the conduct of the driver in hitting, running, and failing to stop, etc., is a circumstance which may be considered…as tending to establish his conduct in causing the injury as…negligence.” Battle v. Kilcrease, 54 Ga.App. 808(1), 189 S.E. 573 cited in Cheevers v. Clark 214 Ga.App. 866 (1994).

Here is another interesting appellate case that discusses what can be done when a Georgia driver flees the scene to conceal that fact that they are DUI, Langlois v. Wolford.

The bottom line is that hit and run collisions and DUI collisions are complex cases where a skillful and experienced injury attorney can make a huge difference.

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