What Happens If You Leave The Scene of a Hit and Run Accident
During a traffic incident, your first instinct may be to leave the scene but what happens if you leave the scene of a hit and run accident? A hit and run accident is any incident that involves a vehicle hitting another vehicle, person, or object and the driver leaves the scene of the crime without reporting the incident or giving their personal information. This usually happens in instances where the driver is hoping that he or she will not be caught for getting into an accident. In some situations, where drugs and drinking and driving are involved, the driver may not even be aware that he or she has hit another vehicle or person.
Even if the accident was not intentional it is always important and recommended that you stop and leave your information or make sure everyone involved is okay.
PRO TIP: Read this article on 10 questions to ask police. We know it will be very informative and help you with any charges you may be facing.
What To Do If You Hit Another Vehicle or Property
Whether or not someone sees an incident take place it is still important to take responsibility for your actions. Causing damage to property or vehicle can include scraping another car in a parking lot, knocking down a neighbor’s mailbox, or any other accident that damages someone else’s personal property. If you do cause damage you must:
- Stop and make observations about the property damaged and your vehicle’s damage.
- Take photos of the damage and the scene where the incident took place
- Write down and note the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, and how much damage you have caused.
- Try to find the owner but leave a note before leaving to look for the owner in case they come back before you have time to find them.
- Leave a note with your name, phone number, license plate number, and what happened.
- Contact the police.
- File an insurance report.
What To Do If You Hit a Person
Distracted driving is the main cause of most pedestrian hit-and-run accidents. With the use of cell phones and many of the drivers on the road not paying attention to their surroundings, it is very possible to be involved in a pedestrian collision. If you hit a pedestrian or a person on a bicycle it is always important to stop and make sure they are okay. Even if they seem okay it is still recommended to stay until the authorities come. You can leave the scene temporarily to look for help but remember to leave your information.
What Are The Penalties for Leaving the Accident Scene?
Leaving the scene of an accident without following the steps above and leaving your personal information will ultimately lead to more trouble than facing the consequences of the accident. Every state has its policies and consequences for hit and run incidents but here are the most common penalties. These penalties include:
- Civil cases where fines are put into place that can involve property damage fines and personal injury fines. When leaving the scene of a crime you can be sued for the damages.
- Criminal penalties can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the severity of the incident.
- Administrative consequences can include a suspended license or getting your license taken away. You will receive points on your license regardless and your insurance rates are bound to skyrocket.
Misdemeanor Vs Felony Hit and Run Incidents
If you decide to commit a hit and run it is important to understand what types of charges you will be faced with. An incident involving injury to another individual is more than likely going to result in a felony. A misdemeanor is the result of minor property damage such as accidentally scratching another car or causing damage to any personal property. If the damage is over $1,000 you could be facing a felony. A driver can also be charged with more than one charge if they were committing another crime during the incident such as driving under the influence or speeding.
Leaving The Scene of a Hit and Run
It is never a good idea to leave the scene of a hit and run. If you are charged with a hit and run you may need a hit and run lawyer to create a defense. It is always recommended that you remain at the scene or leave your information at the least. Even as a passenger of a vehicle when a hit and run takes place you should still report the incident. In conclusion, if you are wondering what happens if you leave the scene of a hit and run accident you should be prepared for legal actions to be taken against you and to hire a criminal attorney.