Hit-and-run accidents are defined as when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without identifying himself/herself to the other driver or police. It does not matter if you were at fault or not. If you leave without giving your information, it’s a hit-and-run. Some examples of a hit and run include leaving the scene of the following illegally:
- Hitting a parked car
- Hitting a mailbox
- Hitting a dog
- Hitting a pedestrian or cyclist
- Scraping a bumper
Hit-and-Run Accidents: What Happens Next
It’s a serious offense, but punishment does vary as to the degree of severity. Damage to a vehicle, but not to a person, is considered a misdemeanor but still carries a fine of up to $1000 and 6 months in jail. A felony hit-and-run accident includes bodily injury with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 4 years in prison.
In the Aftermath
There are basically 2 stages to cycle through before you can get a reasonable resolution.
- At the scene
If you’re the victim, move your car to a safe location and call 911. The more details you can provide will help the police. Try to remember the car make, model and color along with any unique or identifying marks, like bumper stickers or body condition. If possible, get the car’s license number and describe the driver’s appearance along with a description of what happened. See if there are witnesses or evidence, like scraped paint or a broken piece off of the fleeing car. Take pictures.
- After the accident
Let your insurance company know what happened. Get all of the documents they require, including a police report, so they can process your claim. Make sure they know about any medical attention you may have received and follow up on your claim regularly. Keep track of police progress as well.
Both parties are expected to stay at the scene, exchange insurance information and contact police. If you hit someone and feel like only your own property was damaged and you leave, you can still be charged with a hit-and-run, even if you are the victim. Take note: Even a victim, could still have a fight with your own insurance company, if it’s considered a hit-and-run.
Help for You
Reach out to the professionals at Maison Law Firm. A dedicated and experienced staff is waiting to help you get through the mess a hit-and-run case could bring. We are dedicated to making sure you have what you need to get through it.