If a car collides with your person, property or vehicle, and then the driver leaves the scene of the crime without divulging their personal information, this may constitute a “hit and run.”
If the driver flees the scene without doing what’s required of them, they can be convicted for felony charges, punishable by time in prison, a fine, or both. They can also lose their driving privileges.
From our experienced car accident attorneys at the Gilbert Law Firm, here’s what to do after a hit and run accident.
Immediately after the Accident
If you are involved in a collision in which the other driver flees the scene, there are some things you should do. First of all, you should call 911 and notify the police that you were involved in a hit and run accident.
You should provide as much information about the other vehicle as you can, which may include:
- The other driver’s license plate number
- Make, model or color of the vehicle
- Description of damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle
- Direction the other vehicle was headed
- Anything the other driver said or did
After you alert the police to the situation, you should talk to any eyewitnesses. Ask for their names, contact information and what they saw happen. You should also inquire if they took photos or video of the incident; if so, ask to get a copy.
Whether or not your car is still operational, you should not attempt to follow the other car. You could potentially face hit and run charges yourself, or, at the very least, muddle the facts of the case. More importantly, you could put yourself and others at risk while pursuing the other car or confronting the driver.
If you have access to a personal injury attorney, immediately call them to apprise them of the situation and ask their advice. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the complex process of talking to police and insurance companies.
What’s required of a driver after a hit and run?
If the hit and run only involves property, then the at-fault driver is obligated to notify the owner or face a misdemeanor charge punishable with 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
If the hit and run causes an injury, the driver should stop and give reasonable aid as well as provide name, address, insurance information and license plate to the police or other driver.
Failure to do so may result in a felony charge punishable by up to 5 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, or both. The driver will also lose their driver’s license.
In cases where there is a death, the driver must help the victim by calling for medical aid. They must provide their personal information to the police.
If the driver fails to do these things, they can be convicted for a class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $20,000 or both. They will also lose their driving privileges.
You Can Recover Damages
Although most hit and run drivers do not have insurance against which you could file a claim, you may still be able to recover the cost of damage to your property and your person. If the police capture the perpetrator, then you can file a lawsuit for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death.
Even if the other driver is never identified or caught, you may be able to recoup your losses by filing a claim with your insurer. If your auto policy includes uninsured or underinsured motorists, this should cover at least some of the losses.