Being in a vehicular accident can be a very stressful event that can stir negative emotions like anxiety, panic and shock. It can also lead you to making some not-so-smart decisions sometimes. Hit and run is a punishable offense that is described as leaving a scene of a crash or accident that you were involved in or you caused. Therefore, the act of hitting or crashing into a pedestrian, an animal or a pet, a parked car with or without a driver, or any stationary or inanimate property and leaving it like nothing happened can lead to you being charged with hit and run.
What you Need to Do
In any case that you hit someone or something by accident, it is always advised that you stop the car and assess the damage. If you are in a hurry and the owner of the property you damaged is not present, leave your contact details by leaving a note. If a pedestrian or there is a person injured in the accident, you should help the person by calling for help and/or performing a first aid if you deem necessary. Next, call a police officer to have the scene assessed and for documentation. This can help immensely especially when you are dealing with your insurance company. You should also exchange insurance and contact information with the other party. If the other party is unable to do this with you because of injury or he might be unconscious at the moment, leave this information with the police officer. Here’s more of what you must do when you are involved in an accident other than your own property.
Consequences of Hit and Run
These days, it is very difficult to not get caught when committing a crime and this especially true in hit and run cases. Even when you are confident that there are no witnesses, you can never be that sure. For one, CCTVs are everywhere these days. Almost all establishments have them so there is really no escaping. If you are charged with hit and run, consequences can be very hefty. For one, hit and run can be both a felony and misdemeanor.
If there are no severe injuries to persons involved, it is considered a misdemeanor in most states. However, if a death or severe/fatal injuries on the victim is involved, the crime considered a felony. In some states, a hit and run to pet or an animal is also considered a felony. Hit and run misdemeanor can be punished with a fine for up to $5,000 and you can also be imprisoned for a year at most. The punishment will depend on the damages and circumstances of the case. For felony hit and run cases the fines can be anywhere between upwards of $5,000 to $25,000 and imprisonment can be anywhere from 3 to 15 years. Again, it varies depending on the nature of the case. Apart from this, the victim of hit and run also has the option of filing for personal injury claim.
Adding more problem is the fact that most insurance companies immediately cancels their insurance coverage to people who have been proven to be guilty of hit and run.
So next time, if you are involved in a vehicular crash or accident, always stop, calm down and follow the procedures.