When a driver crashes into private property, another vehicle, or a pedestrian, and leaves the scene without providing aid, identifying themselves, or both, such a situation is referred to as a hit and run accident. According to the NHTSA, about 11 out of 100 auto accidents fall under the category of hit and run accidents, of which 4.3 percent result in fatal injuries and death.
Failing to stop after an accident is considered a criminal offense in all 50 states. The crime can be a felony or a misdemeanor, based on the particular circumstances of the accident. However, both of these charges can lead to incarceration in a state prison or county jail, along with a hefty fine. In some cases, at-fault drivers are given the option to perform community service to avoid incarceration.
What to do after a Hit and Run Accident
If you were involved in an accident with another vehicle and the other driver fled the scene, it can be difficult to control emotions, like anger and frustration, but you need to act wisely. Here is what you should do following the accident:
The first thing you should do is obtain as much information as you can about the other vehicle. This may include the color, make, and model of the car, the license plate number, and description of the driver. If there were other people who witnessed the accident, there is a good chance that they may have seen what and how everything happened in more detail. Ask for their contact information and ask them whatever they can tell you about the whole incident.
Get the Local Police Involved
Your next step should be to call the police. Since a hit and run accident is a serious offense, you need to make a police report and provide all the information you have about the incident. Working with the police dramatically increases the chances of the responsible party being apprehended, after which a criminal or civil case is filed based on the circumstances of the accident. Moreover, it is a good idea to document the incident yourself by making a video or taking a few pictures of your vehicle, showing the damages you have sustained for later reference.
Inform Your Insurance Company about the Accident
Coping with a hit and run situation can be difficult, because you are on your own to deal with the damages the other driver caused to you and your property. However, you should take these necessary steps to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your damages. You may also consider working with an experienced personal injury lawyer Delray Beach FL relies on to improve your prospects.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Law Office of Eric A. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into hit and run cases.