What Happens If You Do a Hit and Run?
It’s not uncommon to get into an accident, but leaving the scene of a crash is never something that anyone wants to do. It can leave you feeling anxious and, in a panic, especially if you were injured or the other driver fled. It can also make you wonder who will owe you compensation and how you can collect it.
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Laws that apply to hit-and-run accidents vary by state, but most of them require drivers to stop their vehicle after hitting another driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist and exchange information with the other person. Failure to do so is considered a “hit-and-run” and can result in serious penalties including fines, court costs, points on your driving record, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time.
If you do a hit-and-run, you could face felony charges and a lengthy prison sentence in many states. In addition, you can have your driver’s license suspended or revoked, and you can lose your job.
You’ll need to hire an attorney immediately if you’ve been charged with a hit-and-run crime. A criminal defense lawyer will help you raise any defenses that may protect your rights and get the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether.
Before you leave the scene of a car accident, it’s important to gather all the facts and make detailed notes about the incident. This will help the police investigate the crash and minimize any potential legal issues.
Take photos of the scene if possible and contact law enforcement for a police report. This will allow law enforcement to identify the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash, which will also help them with their investigation.
In addition, it’s critical to gather all witnesses to the crash, including other drivers who were in the area and nearby residents. They may be able to give a valuable witness account of the accident and could provide key evidence for law enforcement.
Ask for their name, contact information, and any identifying details such as their vehicle license plate number, make and model of their car, and any other information they can recall about the driver or their identity. If they can’t remember all of this, write down their names and other identifying details.
After the crash, call 9-1-1 to report the accident and obtain a medical evaluation of the victim. If the person is in a stable condition, exchange insurance and contact information with them as soon as you can.
If a person dies as the result of a hit-and-run accident, they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, which is a Class E felony in most states. If the death was fatal, it would be a Class D felony and subject you to a long prison term.
Depending on the type of accident, the other driver might have uninsured motorist coverage that can cover your losses. If they do not, you will need to pursue an uninsured motorist claim through your own insurance company. It is also important to check your vehicle insurance policy to see if you have any additional protections that might help you financially, such as rental car reimbursement.