What if a collision has occurred and the other party leaves the scene of the accident?
If a party leaves the scene of an accident prior to exchanging necessary information; such as name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate, insurance provider and contact information, insurance policy number and possibly the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number); it is typically considered a hit and run.
Depending on the specific state law, this unlawful action could carry criminal charges. This means, any time you are in an accident that involves anyone’s property, even if the accident was not your fault, you may be charged with a hit and run.
If this happens to you, you should immediately call the police and file an accident report.
How do I file an accident report if I am involved in a hit and run? What information do I need to provide?
You can file an accident report by calling your local police. If an injury has occurred, call 911 immediately.
Assuming no one is injured, once the police arrive at the scene, you will be asked to provide a detailed account of the incident and how it occurred. Any information you can provide about the other party should be included. In the case that the other party is located, this information could be needed to press charges, and could also be useful to your insurance company.
What are the penalties typically associated with hit and run charges?
The charges associated with a hit and run can vary drastically. If these charges are brought against you, you should call an experienced lawyer immediately.
A typical hit and run with minimal property damage and no physical injuries is usually considered a misdemeanor. Penalties associate with this charge could carry jail time, fines, and victim restitution.
If the hit and run accident causes bodily injury or death, you could be charged with a felony. Penalties for this could include prison time, large fines, and points against your driver’s license.
If the person who committed the hit and run is found, am I entitled to victim restitution?
You may be. This is something that should be discussed with an experienced lawyer. This process can often be more successful if you have provided a detailed and thorough account of what happened in the accident report.