What are the Repercussions of Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident?

a car fleeing after hitting a pedestrian
  • Leaving the scene of a car accident is a serious offense and can result in civil and criminal penalties, including jail time or expensive fines.
  • Insurance companies will not grant coverage for accidents when the driver leaves the scene.
  • Injured parties may file a civil lawsuit against the driver responsible, who may be unable to defend themselves due to fleeing the scene.
  • Checking for injuries and documenting the accident are the first steps to take if you’re involved in a car accident.
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s), consult an attorney, and inform your insurance company.

Car accidents are common on the road, and they can happen to anyone at any time. Accidents can cause injuries to drivers and passengers and damage vehicles and other property.

Unfortunately, some drivers opt to leave the scene of an accident for various reasons, which can have severe consequences for everyone involved. This blog post will explore the repercussions of leaving the scene of a car accident.

Legal Consequences

Leaving the scene of a car accident is also referred to as a hit-and-run crime, a serious offense. Depending on the situation, drivers who flee the scene of a crash can face legal charges, including civil and criminal penalties.

For example, if the accident resulted in personal injury or death, the driver who left the scene can face a felony charge with a substantial prison sentence. In contrast, a hit-and-run accident with minor property damage or no injuries can still result in a misdemeanor criminal charge with jail time, fines, and driver’s license revocation.

Loss of Insurance Coverage

rejected insurance claim form

Car accidents can be expensive, and drivers typically rely on their insurance coverage to cover the cost of vehicle damage, medical bills, and other claims. However, insurance companies will not grant coverage for accidents when the driver leaves the scene without taking the necessary steps to resolve the issue. The insurance policyholder will be responsible for paying their expenses or the other driver’s damages themselves.

Lack of Compensation

Sometimes, a driver may leave the scene of an accident because they are uninsured or drive a stolen vehicle. This means that the affected party, the victim, the medical provider, or the insurance company may not receive compensation for the damages or injuries. This can result in significant financial and medical burdens for those affected by the hit-and-run accident.

Civil Lawsuits

After an accident, injured parties may file a civil lawsuit against the driver responsible for their damages. If the driver fled the scene, they would be unable to defend themselves in court or resolve the matter outside of a legal setting, which can result in increased legal fees, charges of contempt or obstruction of justice, and potential wage garnishments or liens on future assets.

What’s the Right Thing to Do

Now that you know the repercussions of leaving the scene of a car accident, you should take steps to protect yourself and others if you’re ever involved in an accident. Here are the things you must do:

Check for Injuries

The first thing you need to do after an accident is to check for injuries. If you or any of your passengers have sustained injuries, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately. If there are no injuries, move on to the next steps.

Document the Accident

Once you have ensured everyone is okay, document the accident scene. Take pictures and videos of the stage, including the damage to the vehicles involved, the road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals. If there are any witnesses, take down their names and contact information.

Exchange Information

2 people in a car crash

Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved. Get their names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance information, and license plate numbers. You should also give them the same information about yourself.

Consult with an Attorney

If you or any of your passengers sustain serious injuries or feel that the other driver was at fault, you may need to consult with a car accident lawyer. These legal professionals can help you understand your rights and options and can work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Inform Your Insurance Company

It’s essential to inform your insurance company about the accident immediately. This will help them start processing your claim and provide you with any necessary assistance. Be honest and detailed about what happened, and provide all the documentation and information you gathered at the accident scene.

The Bottomline

Drivers who leave the scene can face substantial legal and financial repercussions, not to mention the potential loss of their driving privileges. So, if you are involved in a car accident, do the right thing- stay at the scene, exchange information, check on others involved, and call for help if necessary. It’s the best way to ensure everyone’s safety and avoid detrimental consequences.

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