As a general rule, any individual, who is involved in an accident, is required to stop, provide comprehensive information, and offer help. Unfortunately, there are still drivers who often attempt to flee the accident scene they have caused. The failure to stop after causing an accident is known as “hit and run”, and it can have serious legal ramifications ranging from steep fines to jail time.
The most common hit and run cases involve parking lot collisions, wherein the at-fault driver bumps another person’s parked car. More serious cases involve drivers who flee the scene of an accident where the other driver or passengers have been hurt, usually without procuring the aid required by the injured people at the scene.
Legal Ramifications Of A Hit And Run Accident
If a driver fails to stop or render aid at the scene of the accident, the driver’s conduct is considered a “hit and run”. This offense covers all accidents wherein an individual hits someone or something, and the person at fault leaves the scene before taking responsibility, or before talking to a law enforcer.
The criminal penalties for hit and run accident can differ depending on the state and the nature of the accident. The criminal penalties are typically less severe if the accident only results to property damages than if the accident involves another person. The penalties for this offense will also depend on whether it is the offender’s first offense, or if the other people involved in the accident were severely injured.
In most states, a hit and run accident is a very serious criminal charge. If it is the offender’s first offense and the accident caused damage to another vehicle, the offender will be convicted of the crime and required to pay the damages done to the vehicle. The damages can be paid for through the offender’s insurance or in fines assessed by the local authorities. In some states, the offender will not only face fines, but his/her driver’s license will also be revoked. If the victim of a hit and run accident dies, the accident is considered a felony by law. The authorities will ask the vehicle’s owner to give a statement at the police station and turn in the vehicle for further investigations. If you get into this kind of situation, it is best to consult with a qualified lawyer before talking to the police.
What Needs To Be Done In Case Of A Car Accident
The criminal penalties of a hit and run accident vary from one state to another; however, in every state, the law requires every driver to stop the vehicle if they are involved in an accident. If you get involved in this kind of situation, you are required to do the following:
- Get information from the drivers and passengers involved in the accident, such as their name, contact number, insurance information, and so on.
- Determine the physical condition of the passengers in the other car, and find medical assistance if needed.
- Immediately contact the authorities to inform them of the accident, and you must comply with all the requests of the police officer including staying at the accident scene if necessary.
- Produce proof of insurance, car registration, and driver’s license if requested by the other driver or by the authorities.
- Submit to a breathalyzer test or other intoxication tests if the police officer has a reason to suspect that you are intoxicated while driving.
Various states may have different requirements and rules, but generally, the purpose behind requiring the at-fault driver to stop at the scene of the accident is to ensure that the other driver is safe. It also ensures that the authorities have the opportunity to figure out the extent of the damage and the root of the accident.
Kris Lim is a blogger who specializes in vehicular accidents. She also offers her ideas and tips for Massachusetts criminal defense attorney and law firms, such as Elliot Savitz Law. The criminal defense attorney can help you out in case you are involved in a hit and run accident.