A hit and run car accident can be a devastating event for the victims of these crimes. National government statistics indicate that approximately eleven percent of all vehicle accidents are hit and run car accidents. This equates to nearly 700,000 hit-and-run car accident cases each year in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the hit and run car accident rate has increased by fifteen percent since 1998 nationwide. In some states, like California, the rate of increase for hit and run car accident cases is even greater.
Failure to Stop
A hit and run car accident is defined as a party’s failure to stop after an accident. When a person is involved in a hit and run car accident, they are required by law to stop and exchange pertinent information with all other involved parties. If a hit and run car accident occurs and there are no witnesses present, the person is required to stop and leave a note including all relevant information. This requirement is not considered an infringement upon a person’s right not to self-incriminate because it is considered a report rather than an admission of guilt.
If you find yourself the victim of a hit and run car accident, it is important to know what to do in order to protect your interests. Immediately following a hit-and-run car accident it is important to assess any physical injury that may have been caused in the accident. The police should be called to the scene immediately. All known information about the hit and run car accident perpetrator should be written down and included in the police report. All witnesses to the hit and run car accident should be identified and asked to report any helpful information they can provide.
After a hit and run car accident, the victim may be faced with physical and/or property damage losses. These may or may not be covered by a hit and run car accident victim’s insurance company. Some insurance policies do not cover damages that involve an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run car accident motorist. Many plans do have coverage for hit and run car accident losses, and it is important to know whether or not your plan includes these types of accidents.
Law enforcement officials will work to the full extent to track down the hit and run car accident offenders. A suspected offender may be required to come to the police station with their vehicle to make a statement. The punishment for a hit and run car accident will depend on the state where the accident took place, the extent of damage that resulted, an offender’s cooperation with authorities, and the offender’s past criminal history. A hit and run car accident perpetrator may receive civil and criminal penalties that may include any or all of the following: compensatory fines, punitive fines, loss or suspension of driver’s license, insurance and/or DMV points, loss of insurance coverage, or driving privileges, probation, and jail time. Hit and run car accident penalties can be enhanced under a number of circumstances.
If you have been involved in a hit and run car accident, an experienced accident attorney can advise you on how to proceed in order to protect and maximize your legal rights and interests.