The consequences of a hit-and-run accident range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of your case. In most cases, the courts will impose a fine that you must pay. The law considers a hit-and-run accident a serious crime as it is a major contributor to road fatalities.
Some individuals turn to their primal instincts when they are involved in a car accident. Their first instinct after an accident may be to flee the scene. Such action gives temporary relief that people crave after making a mistake. However, the consequences could be harsh when the law catches up to you. It is advised to connect with a lawyer for guidance when you cause an accident rather than flee the scene.
Overview of Hit-and-Run Accidents
A hit and-run-accident is an accident where you crash into another car, a pedestrian, or a fixed object. Then, you leave the accident scene without identifying yourself or providing medical assistance to the victim in dire need.
A hit and run can happen anywhere. For example, you commit a hit and run when you strike a car in a parking lot and flee the scene.
Generally, the act of leaving the scene of an accident without identifying yourself constitutes a hit and run. It does not matter if you were responsible for the accident or not. However, the law may be lenient if you can prove you left the scene before identifying yourself to seek medical attention for your injuries.
The Consequences for Committing a Hit and Run
The consequences of a hit-and-run accident vary. If you are unsure of the legal ramifications of committing a hit and run in your state, a lawyer can inform you and help you understand related laws.
If a hit-and-run accident was the proximate cause of a severe injury or death, the driver of the vehicle will be guilty of a felony. However, there must be sufficient evidence to prove that the driver never stopped after the accident. In this case, the driver faces time in prison. A driver may face a misdemeanor charge if he or she doesn’t stop in an accident resulting in a victim’s minor injuries and/or property damage.
Know that you can face criminal charges in both South Carolina and Georgia if you commit a hit and run. It is best to stay at the scene, whether you caused the accident or not. This can protect you from facing more severe charges that can completely upend your life.
What Should You Do at the Scene of a Car Accident?
Drivers involved in accidents, regardless of severity, are expected to stop and stay at the scene. You should immediately assess the damage and exchange information with the other driver. If an accident causes injuries, deaths, and/or property damage, you should, without a question, stay put. Some accidents may seem minor, but there could be injuries and/or damages you are unaware of. For this reason, you should always remain at the scene.
If it is not possible to stop at the scene, the driver should stop as close as possible and return to the accident scene.
The driver should then:
- Provide details of his or her name, registration number of their car, and address
- Present his or her operator’s license to the victim(s) of the accident upon request
- Provide reasonable assistance to the victims of the accidents, including transporting them or organizing for their transportation to a medical facility for treatment
- Contact local law enforcement to have the accident reported
- Contact medical officers if victims appear unconscious, deceased, or unable to communicate
In the Case of an Accident with an Unattended Car
The driver must remain at the scene of the accident until they fulfill these requirements. The driver must not obstruct traffic while performing these duties. If the accident involves an unattended car, the driver shall:
- Locate the vehicle owner if possible and provide their information
- Alternatively, the driver can leave a conspicuous notice (written) on the damaged vehicle giving his or her name and address
If you fail to adhere to these requirements, the law deems you guilty and liable for a hit-and-run accident.
Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Today for Legal Help
The penalties for hit and run are harsh, but there is still a glimmer of hope. A lawyer may be able to convince the court or a jury to be lenient. For example, a suspended sentence for first-time convictions.
If you have a case pending in court, you may want legal counsel to potentially strengthen your case. We have a team of attorneys who could build a strong defense for you. If you were involved in a hit and run, contact us at (843) 779-1777 for a free consultation to learn your legal options. Even if you feel don’t feel confident about a good outcome, speak with us anyway. You may be surprised.