Auto accidents are a fact of life in the United States, and they are bad enough when everyone follows the rules and acts responsibly. But, this does not happen in every situation. Many times an irresponsible negligent party will cause an accident, lose all perspective at the moment, and then take off in hopes of never being found. This type of behavior is termed hit and run in the legal industry, and it is clearly a criminal act. The problem is finding the individual after the fact, which often never happens. These types of scenarios make settling auto accident injury claims very difficult for any car accident attorney when the fleeing driver is largely at fault for the accident and there is no one to pursue for damages. And, there could be a variety of reasons for the difficulty.
Accident Protocol Legal Requirements
There are specific actions that drivers and even witnesses must take when they are involved in an accident. This applies to witnesses as well in some circumstances because all passengers are commonly impacted when an accident happens, which means they may not be conscious enough to contact emergency authorities. Anyone involved in an accident resulting in personal injury or $1000 in physical vehicle damage must stay on the scene until authorities arrive. This means someone should call 911 immediately because lives could be in peril. Law officers will also want to interview witnesses and talk to anyone involved who is coherent. Injured victims will be attended by emergency medical technicians and taken to a facility as soon as possible for further medical evaluation. Failure to respond this way is classified as a crime, and especially when a driver leaves the scene.
Criminal Application for Leaving the Scene
There is very little excuse for leaving the scene of an accident, and especially when driving a vehicle that is involved in a collision. Even those who are not struck by another motorist could have a role in causation, since many times the colliding vehicles are attempting to avoid striking another vehicle. Details matter in all accident cases, and leaving the scene of an accident without being hit by another vehicle is also considered to be a criminal act. Additional charges could also accumulate when a driver has evaded police by speeding or driving recklessly in the process. These are all crimes that can be compounded when apprehension is finally made if it does actually happen. Those who are charged have left the scene for some reason, and the reason is often a failure to carry liability insurance or chemical impairment at the time of the mishap. This also includes drivers who have borrowed a friend’s vehicle yet do not have the necessary insurance coverage in place to cover all parties in the eventuality of a collision. [Borrowing a friend’s car- what to do when you’re in an accident] And, injured victims will have to deal with the state conviction also restricting the ability of the negligent fleeing driver to pay any damages beyond liability insurance coverage. Some fleeing drivers actually have auto insurance, but leave for a different reason such as intoxication.
What Witnesses Can Do to Help
It is important for someone to be alert when a hit-and-run event is occurring, including taking photos of the assailant’s vehicle. The description of the vehicle for car crash claims can be important, but the best identification is by taking a picture of the license plate. Law enforcement officials investigate all highway accidents, and a license plate registration number can help significantly in tracking the driver in question. Providing testimony for injured parties can help in some cases also because receiving compensation from a fleeing driver can be a frustrating process for the car accident injury attorney selected to handle the case.
Never assume there is no avenue of financial recovery when involved in a collision with a hit-and-run driver. Even in a state like North Carolina with a restrictive contributory negligence law, there could still be a possibility of some financial compensation that could include an attachment to personal property or orders of wage garnishment. Being equitably compensated can be difficult unless the injured victim has personal injury protection coverage on their auto policy, but this is not an impossible situation under certain circumstances. Always call an experienced car accident attorney with a strong track record of results for their injured clients who were involved in hit-and-run accidents.