Hit & Run, Not Fun: 3 Reasons To Avoid Leaving The Scene Of An Accident

Posted on: 10 February 2016

There's one obvious reason not to leave the scene of a car or pedestrian accident: it's just not the right thing to do. If you leave the scene of an accident, whether it involves property or a person, you have to stop and exchange insurance information. Otherwise, you have committed a hit and run. Need some more reasons? Here are a few:

1. There are criminal penalties associated with leaving the scene.

While the specific laws differ from state to state, it is important to consider criminal penalties. A hit and run is a crime, after all. In some states, the penalties are misdemeanors, but they are often felonies. You may also be fined for leaving the scene, especially if somebody was injured or killed in the accident. Worst of all, you could be incarcerated for years. Even a misdemeanor can result in jail time.

2. You can lose your driver's license.

Most states require that you lose your driver's license after you are caught leaving the scene of the crime. The Department of Motor Vehicles is likely to get in touch with you regarding this matter following a decision about your case. It typically does not matter if you are being charged with a felony or misdemeanor; your license is gone. If your accident was severe, you may lose your driving privileges for the rest of your life.

3. The victim of the accident can sue you in civil court.

In the majority of cases, the person who caused the accident is the person who runs. If this is the case in your situation, you should brace yourself for the possibility that you will be served papers for civil court. The victim can sue for anything from property damage to lost wages due to being injured. Even if you would have been sued in court otherwise, the fees may be much higher if you were caught running. In most states, treble damages apply. This means that the judge can triple the amount you pay the plaintiff. You should also be aware that in most cases, auto insurance does not cover these fees.

Are you afraid that you may be facing these consequences? It is important to get in touch with an attorney who specializes in criminal law. Otherwise, you may find yourself facing harsh criminal penalties. If you have questions, it is best to seek counsel early. It is also important that you do not speak with police until you have a lawyer by your side.