Being involved in a hit and run may make us act on some spur of the moment human instincts. When we know we have committed a false action, the first impulse may be to run from the scene. However, it should not be surprising that fleeing from the scene of a hit and run may result in extremely serious future consequences.
Defining Hit and Run
Hit and run are generally defined as getting involved in an automobile accident (either involving another car, pedestrian, or an inanimate object) and fleeing the scene without identifying oneself or providing aid to the one who is in need of assistance. There are a few states that go as far as to include accidents with an animal in their meaning of “hit and run.”
Most states do not take heed to whether you caused the unfortunate incident or not. The committed act is simply you leaving the scene of the crime. If you find it necessary to leave the scene to obtain further emergency assistance, then it generally won’t be considered as a hit and run. But, you must return immediately to the scene.
Meanwhile, in most states, they do not consider whether the car accident happened on a public road or highway. In fact, multiple states expand the scope of hit and run laws to cover parking lot impacts.
For instance, if you hit an unattended car in a parking lot and left without a note with your contact details on the windshield, then the laws of most states may regard this as a hit and run.
What To Do Legally When Involved In A Hit and Run
First of all, STOP. When accidents happen, your adrenaline pumps, and it is difficult to think and manage what to do. Stop the car, then breathe. Most state laws require a driver to stop, provide aid or assistance, and exchange information in case there is property damage or injury as a result of the accident. Also, the driver must contact the police if the victim has any injuries and is reasonably able.
Identifying Information Needed To Provide Involving A Hit And Run
Drivers must give their information when involved in an accident: name, address, contact number, vehicle registration number. Meanwhile, motorists in a wreck must provide their permit or license upon request. It would be wise to keep all information in an envelope to refrain from searching through the compartment.
What To Do If It’s An Unattended Car?
You must do the same when hitting an unattended car or inanimate property such as a mailbox. Stop, and leave your identifying information. A few state laws declare that a driver who crashes and destructs another vehicle, even if it was unattended, must try and search for the owner or entrust a visible note with their information: name, address, contact number and automobile registration number.
Make a Police Report
Fleeing from the scene of a hit and run is a serious offense, and the individual responsible may have to face the consequences when caught. Providing the police with all the information involving the accident increases the odds of or the individual who committed the hit and run getting arrested.
Contact the police ASAP after a hit and run. If you were driving when the accident happened, you must first guarantee that no one is harmed or injured. Then, move the vehicle to safety if feasible. Patiently wait nearby for the law officers to arrive.
Take a few photographs. Include photographs of the vehicle damages which may be used later for reference. After the police have written their reports, the final step would be to report the incident to your insurance company.
Calling The Insurance Company
Your insurance company will tend to require you a police report before considering the claim as a hit and run. This process prevents fraudulent or illegal reporting of how the damages of a vehicle actually transpired.
When to call a lawyer after a hit and run
Some people do not know whether they need to contact a lawyer after an accident. Contact your lawyer when the accident seriously involved injuries that require urgent medical assistance. Your lawyer can help you in similar cases, including those with casualties. You may avail the services of a lawyer that specializes in a particular situation, such as those here who specializes in motorcycle accidents. Finding a lawyer that knows how to handle your situation can greatly aid you to learn more about what to do in a hit and run.
Moreover, if the police report erroneously recounts the events, or puts you at fault when you feel that the hit and run offender is liable, you may contact your attorney for assistance.
Consequences if you do not stop and flee after a hit and run
A driver who flees the scene of a hit and run may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, especially if the accident follows property damage, injury, or death. For motorists, they may be summoned with a non-criminal ticket for inability to provide information and deliver assistance. Most importantly, a motorist or pedestrian may meet one’s end if they do not receive medical attention.
It is important to bear in mind the information written above to know what you can do legally if you have been involved in a hit and run, or any car accident. You may most likely need civil or criminal legal advice, so contact your lawyer in cases like this.
Vicki is a law writing enthusiast who’s had over 25 years of experience in her field. She enjoys sharing her experiences with those who want to learn more about the legal world. In her spare time she spends quality time with her family and friends.