Seasoned lawyers from law firms like Dickson Kohan & Bablove understand what it takes to win a personal injury case after a car accident. In most cases, you’ll have better chances at receiving settlement by just remaining at the scene where the accident took place as long as you weren’t violating any traffic regulations.
Lawyers, especially those practicing in the field of personal injury law, also know that leaving the scene of an accident will virtually wipe out your chances of receiving compensation. The risk of losing a claim is very high if you “fled” even if your car sustained more damage, and you were the victim. Worse, you may even end up being tagged as being at fault. Here’s a look at why you should stay put at the scene after a car accident.
Why You Shouldn’t Leave the Scene of a Car Accident
The main reason why you should remain in the scene of an accident is that it is against the law to leave. Leaving the scene without stopping and immediately reporting the incident to the authorities is illegal in the United States. Such an offense may be deemed either as a misdemeanor or as a felony offense. Most road accidents, such as car collisions or hitting pedestrians, are categorized as hit and run if you did not stop and chose to leave immediately.
Understandably, accidents can be too traumatic and distressing for some drivers that they choose not to stop. Others may have been unaware that they may have caused an accident. Either way, hit-and-run charges will apply, but only to the driver of the vehicle and not the passengers.
Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Hit-and-Run Charges
A hit-and-run incident will only be considered misdemeanor if the accident did not result in any injury to others, but only damage to properties such as on the other vehicles involved. Misdemeanor hit and runs often take place in parking lots where a driver may back into an unoccupied parked vehicle. It should be noted, however, that definitions for this charge may vary according to state.
A hit-and-run charge becomes a felony if the accident caused injury or death to another person. This applies if the driver hits a pedestrian or a cyclist. It may also apply in car collisions that resulted in injury or death to the driver and passengers of the other car.
Certain Instances When You Can Leave the Scene of the Accident
There are some cases wherein you’ll be better off leaving the scene of the accident. For instance, you need to report the accident but are in an area where there’s poor reception, you may try to look for help in the nearest commercial or residential areas. If an accident occurs in a dangerous location such as in a high-crime area, or if there’s a chance of an explosion or fire, the driver may move to a safer area near where the accident occurred.
If you find yourself involved in a car accident, try to regain your composure to help you think more clearly. After making sure that you are safe, stay within the vicinity of the accident and wait for the authorities to arrive. Leave only after you have provided a statement to the authorities and they have given you permission to do so.