Being involved in an accident is hard enough as it is. The damage to your vehicle may cost an arm and a leg to repair, and that’s hoping you still have an arm and a leg attached. Medical bills alone can be a large financial burden after an accident. What makes things even worse to deal with, however, is if the driver leaves the scene.
If a driver has left the scene of the accident, it is incredibly important for you to call the police immediately. Leaving the scene is a criminal offense regardless of whether or not the driver who left was at fault for the accident. By calling the police as soon as possible, you increase the possibilities of the other driver being found and you also give your case proper evidence. Having the support of the police will make filing your claim much easier, especially if the other driver is never found.
The punishment given to a driver who leaves the scene depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident in question. If the accident did not result in any injuries, the driver may only be charged with a misdemeanor and could be required to pay a fine or even spend some time in prison.
However, if there were injuries involved, the penalties for leaving the scene are much more serious. The driver who left could be charged with a felony in some state and required to pay a much larger fine and spend more than a year in prison. If the injuries included the death of someone involved, the felony is considered to be even more serious and could result in a much longer time spent in prison by the driver who left the scene.
As soon as you have called the police after the driver has left the scene, you should make it a point to take notes. Taking notes will help you remember important details in order to inform the cops and your insurance company later on. This is even more important in the case of a driver leaving the scene as any information regarding the driver’s vehicle will help the cops locate them. You should attempt to record the color, make and model of the vehicle and the license plate number if possible.
After the police have been involved and things regarding the missing driver have been taken care of, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible – especially if injuries were involved. If the driver is not found, your own insurance will be forced to cover any costs.
If you have any injuries because of the accident, it would also benefit you greatly to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help with the process of getting your medical bills covered, especially after the driver is caught. In these cases, it is possible that your claim could be taken to court, which will be where a personal injury lawyer would benefit you the most.
When another driver leaves the scene of the accident, it can make things incredibly difficult. It will likely add a lot of stress and pressure to the process of handling claims and costs associated with the accident, however you should not let that get to you. It is important for you to stay calm in this situation and handle things with a level head.
In this situation, you should especially be sure to not leave the scene yourself. You may be tempted to follow the driver in order to locate them yourself, however this will not accomplish anything. In fact, doing so will only make matters worse for you as it will qualify you as leaving the scene of the accident, as well.
The best thing for you to do regarding the missing driver is to speak to the police and let them do their jobs while you handle your side of the accident. If the driver is caught, things will be made much easier. In most cases, the driver who flees is the one who was at fault, which means they will more than likely be held responsible. However, you should not assume anything and you should not take anything for granted.