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Can I sue in a no injury hit and run?

Lawrenceville, GA |

I was rear ended and the driver of the other car verbally harassed me and made me feel threatened while I was on the phone with the police. The driver also took pictures of my car to prove to me that there was no damage, and then attempted to shove them in my face through the driver side window and windshield while screaming and yelling at me. The driver was cited for the accident and for hit and run. Can I sue for emotional distress, loss of a day at work and negligence on their part?

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Attorney answers 7


You can sue for anything, but when you file a frivolous suit, possibly you will be hit with sanctions and may have to pay THEIR legal fees. Having said that, the threats, etc. should be in your police report and you might be able to swear out a misdemeanor criminal warrant against the other driver, probably for simple assault. They may get a fine. You won't get a check. Be thankful you weren't hurt, and move on with your life.

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With respect to the rear end collision, you can sue for property damage and for your personal injuries. You must be able to show your damages, however. If you missed a day of work because of the incident (e.g., you had to get checked out by a doctor or you were unable to work), then you can include lost wages as part of your claim. You may want to get your car checked out to make sure that the car frame was not damaged as a result of this.

As to the assault, perhaps someone else can comment on that.

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If there were no property damages and/or personal injuries sustained, there would not a viable claim for damages. If you sustained personal injury, you could potentially recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of wages. If there were property damages sustained, you could potentially recover for the repair costs and rental expenses during the period of repairs.


Many injuries such as sore back sore neck manifest days later, so you are free to retain a local personal injury lawyer.


With no property damage to your car, there is not claim there. With respect to emotional distress, Georgia law requires that the act upon which a claim for emotional distress be extreme, and it's doubtful that simply yelling at you and trying to shove pictures in your face rises to the required level. As far as negligence, they were negligent when they rear-ended you but what are the damages? You have to have damages to sue. You may have a claim for a day of lost work provided you can prove it, but ask yourself, after paying filing fees, attorney fees, etc., what will be left over? In all honesty it doesn't sound worth pursuing.


A lawsuit would help you to recover from a loss if the at fault party failed to uphold legal duties he had to you. You do not describe a loss of much consequence, so a lawsuit may not be appropriate in your situation. We can all agree that you were in a frightening encounter with someone experiencing poor judgment, at best. You might contact the traffic court prosecutor to see if the other party must appear in Court on the charges. If so, the Prosecutor may be interested in your input to the Court. The Judge may give you the opportunity to speak at sentencing, which may help you to see that justice is done.

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If the hit and run driver is known, you could sue that driver for the property damage. If the hit and run driver is unknown, then you could file suit against "John Doe" and serve your insurance company with the lawsuit as long as you have the applicable uninsured motorist insurance coverage. Your facts are sparse and I assume that you did not have applicable UM coverage to cover your property damage.

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