What Happens If You Leave The Scene of A Car Accident?
Car accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence on our roads. No matter how careful a driver you may be, there is always the possibility of being involved in an accident. It can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience, but it's crucial to know what to do if it ever happens to you. Never leave the scene of the accident, even if it seems like a minor fender bender. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense, and it can have severe legal consequences. Leaving the scene of an accident is not only a criminal offense, but it can also result in civil liability. If you leave the scene of an accident, you may be sued by the other party for damages, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. The police will typically inform you when it's safe to leave the scene of the accident. However, this will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the jurisdiction where it occurred. In some cases, the police may ask you to remain at the scene until they have completed their investigation and documented the accident. It's essential to stay at the scene and follow the proper procedures, such as calling the police and exchanging information with the other driver. If you're unsure what to do after an accident, it's always best to seek legal advice.
What Is a Hit and Run?In most states, leaving the scene of an accident is considered a hit and run. Hit and run is a criminal offense, and it's taken very seriously by law enforcement. If you leave the scene of an accident, you may face criminal charges, fines, and even jail time, depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries sustained by the other party.
What Are the Steps You Should Take After Being Involved in an Accident?When you're involved in an accident, first check if anyone is injured. If anyone is hurt, call an ambulance immediately. You should also call the police, no matter how minor the accident may seem. The police will help you document the accident, and they can assist in redirecting traffic if necessary. While you're waiting for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident. You should also take pictures of the accident scene and any damage to the vehicles involved. If you're unable to exchange information with the other driver, leave a note with your contact information, and report the accident to the police as soon as possible.
What Information Do I Exchange with the Other Driver?When you're involved in an accident, the following information is important to gather or provide:
- Name: Provide your full name, and ask for the other driver's name.
- Contact Information: Exchange phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses.
- Insurance Information: Provide your insurance company's name, policy number, and contact information. Ask the other driver for their insurance company's name, policy number, and contact information as well.
- Vehicle Information: Exchange details about the vehicles involved, including the make, model, year, and license plate number.
- Accident Location: Take note of the location of the accident, including the street name, the closest intersection, and any landmarks.
- Witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the accident, exchange their contact information as well. Their testimony may be valuable if there is a dispute about who is at fault.
When Should I Call a Lawyer?A lawyer can help you in several ways if you're involved in a car accident. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can assist you:
- Legal Advice: A lawyer can provide you with legal advice on your rights and obligations following a car accident. They can help you understand the legal implications of leaving the scene of an accident, filing an insurance claim, and other issues that may arise.
- Investigation: A lawyer can conduct an investigation into the accident, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. This can help determine who was at fault and strengthen your case if you need to file a claim or lawsuit.
- Negotiation: A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages you suffered in the accident.
- Representation: If your case goes to court, a lawyer can represent you and advocate for your rights in front of a judge or jury.