When an accident happens, as a good and responsible citizen, you should never leave the accident scene. You need to stay in that accident scene until or unless you are reporting to the police or law enforcement. Even when both drivers are guilty of an accident, then both drivers are expected to stay at the accident scene.
But in some cases, some drivers do not follow these rules. So what happens when they violate such rules. In some states, if you leave the accident scene without reporting it to the police, then it will be considered a criminal offense. And you can be penalized for such an offense. The penalties can be more severe when there is any involvement of injury or death.
So in this writing, we are going to explore what happens if you leave the scene of a car accident. Keep reading to learn more.
Hit and run laws in a car accident
If someone intentionally or unintentionally flees from the scene of a car accident, then it will be considered a crime. In that case, not only that individual has to compensate for the damages that person made, but also that person will be convicted as a criminal.
If someone leaves the accident scene, then the punishment or penalties will completely depend on the situation and the circumstances. Almost in every state, the drivers need to report to the police after a car accident. That driver also needs to stay at the accident scene until the law enforcement team comes to the scene.
In some cases, when you do not have a device for informing the police, in such cases, you may leave the scene in order to go to the nearest police station. If you fail to do that when someone is seriously injured or even killed. Then you may have to go through imprisonment for years.
Also read about: When Should You Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident
Penalties or punishment for leaving the accident scene
Each and every case and situation is unique from other cases and situations. So the punishment is also depended on the circumstances and the situation. However, different states have different kinds of punishment. But there are some common penalties that can be found in every state. So the possible penalties for leaning the accident scene can be the following:
- Imprisonment for a few years if there are any injury cases or even death
- Fines penalty
- Drug assessments that can end up with rehabilitation for years
- Suspension of the driving license
- Civil liability
Jail time for leaving the accident scene
As we have known that the penalties will depend on the case and situation, but the hit and run law will apply to all accidents, even a parked car accident. If you hit a parked car, then you also have to find the car owner and compensate for the damages. Here is the jail time for different kinds of cases:
- Minor injuries with minor damages – Class 1 criminal offense, up to one year of imprisonment or equivalent fines and costs
- Damages of properties – Class 2 criminal offense, up to 90 days of imprisonment or equivalent fines and costs
- Major bodily injury – Felony, six years of imprisonment at maximum
- Death – Felony, 12 years of imprisonment at maximum
Things to do after a car accident
After an accident, you should not flee away or leave the accident scene. Then there are certain things that you should follow after a car accident. But failure to remain at the scene of an accident can lead to some serious consequences. So, below are some points that you should follow after a car accident.
- Stay in the accident scene until the law enforcement team comes. Then report the accident to the law enforcement team or the police.
- You should give an honest description of the police report. But you should not delay the police report.
- Try to give your full information to the police (e.g., name, address, driving license number). If possible, then try to collect the other driver’s information too.
- Try to provide your driving license number to the police report.
- If someone is injured from the accident, then try to help them by providing proper medical aid. If the injuries are severe, then try to contact the emergency.
- Try to take as many photos as you can. These will work as good evidence when you claim for the settlement to the insurance company.
A civil claim for the leaving the accident scene case
If you are a victim of such a situation, then you have the right to make a civil claim. This civil claim will compensate for the loss and the damages that you had from the accident. Compensation for the loss and damages can be various. Below are some types of compensation that occur in the hit-and-run accident.
- Hospital bills and nursing costs (e.g., present and future treatment costs)
- Lost wages and lost income
- Rehabilitation costs
- Compensation for the pain and suffering (e.g., mental traumas such as depression, anxiety)
- Emotional stains
- Physical injuries and pain
- Loss of activities
In the bottom line
If you have ever been in such an accident or situation, then you should always go through the legal process. And it is also very important to know about legal rights. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run case, then you should not waste your time claiming compensation.
In some cases, all these legal processes can seem difficult for you. So it is always recommended to seek help from an accident lawyer. A professional accident lawyer can help you by ensuring the settlement that you deserve. Hopefully, this writing helped you to understand what happens if you leave the scene of a car accident.