Drivers need to know exactly what they should do if they do collide with another vehicle. State law requires that drivers stop their vehicles after a crash causes injury to another person or if property has been damaged.
Failure to stop could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. After a crash, the people involved have a duty to stop to check on each other. They also have a duty to share information, including their vehicle’s registration number, their full and their address. Typically, they will need to share information about their driver’s license and motor vehicle insurance policy as well. Drivers also have a duty to help anyone who may have been hurt in the crash.
Why stopping is important
Drivers may not realize how badly hurt someone else is, which is one reason why they have to stop and render aid if necessary. Whenever there is significant property damage or injuries to the people involved, an insurance claim may follow the car crash. In extreme cases, the case may end up going to court.
Unfortunately, not everyone will follow the rules of the road. Just like drivers ignore the speed limit, they could also potentially violate the statute that requires that they stop to check on the other driver. How does someone pay their crash expenses when the party to blame for the wreck drives off?
The police may be able to track down a hit-and-run driver
Someone affected by a collision caused by a driver who leaves the scene of the crash can notify the local authorities of the collision. Traffic camera footage, security videos, witness statements and even automotive repair shop records could help police officers identify the driver responsible for a hit-and-run collision.
When the police successfully locate the driver to blame for the crash, they can potentially cite that individual for the collision. Once the other driver knows the identity of the party at fault for the crash, they will be in a position to pursue an insurance claim or possibly civil litigation.
Many hit-and-run crashes go unsolved
The unfortunate reality for those affected by a driver who fled the scene of a crash is that often the police never find the person responsible for the wreck. Drivers who cannot locate the person who caused their crash often have to make a claim against their own insurance if they have uninsured motorist protection. Otherwise, their policies may not protect them from the consequences of a hit-and-run collision.
Learning more about the options available after a hit-and-run crash can help people better respond to a wreck and protect themselves legally and financially, in the event that one occurs.