Getting into an accident is a nasty surprise for anyone. A hit and run is just that much worse though. Keep in mind here, that hit and run is defined as somebody involved in an accident leaving the scene without stopping to provide details, report the accident or check on any injured parties. You can commit hit and run even if you were the one who was hit, simply by leaving the scene.
Ramifications of Leaving the Scene
Leaving the scene is treated differently by different states, and also can have various levels of seriousness. You can face a felony charge if somebody was injured in the accident and you left the scene, though it can also be a misdemeanour if the damage was minor and nobody was injured. Remember, misdemeanour sounds much nicer than it is – you’re still facing criminal prosecution if you commit hit & run!
Those who are prosecuted can expect anything from a hefty fine to prison time. Your license can also be affected and you may face a suspension or revocation of your drivers license. Always report any incidents, don’t risk leaving the scene when it may cost you the ability to drive.
What if I’m the Victim?
If you’re the victim in a hit and run, the first thing to do is report the incident to the police. They will log the crime and may be able to help you recover evidence and identify the other driver. Witness statements and security cameras are particularly useful here. Getting the report in quickly also means details are fresher in your mind.
If you require any medical assistance, contact an ambulance as well. In cases where there isn’t much damage you may not need an ambulance, but it’s still a good idea to go to hospital and get yourself checked over – this will be important for any future compensation claims.
A lawyer can help you put together a case and pursue compensation for damages and prosecution of the victim. Even if the perpetrator hasn’t yet been caught or even identified, this is a good path to take. The involvement of a lawyer and the police can help boost publicity around the incident and you may be able to identify the driver in the future. There are more details here on what advantages legal representation can give you after a hit and run.
When Should I Explore Legal Representation?
As soon as possible. Just like with the police report, details about your accident will fade over time. Likewise you may lose track of the recovery process or any expenses caused by the accident. Starting the process early means all of this is fresh in your mind, and your lawyer can keep a detailed log of any costs and injury recovery. Likewise they can help you with getting quality medical care so your recovery is as quick and painless as possible.
Early reporting also allows your lawyer to get involved with the identification process for the driver. While a lawyer may not be able to do anywhere near what the police can, they are able to advise you on ways you might discover this information and methods to collect other useful evidence for your day in court.