What to do in a hit and run accident?
If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law, it is very important to know exactly what your rights are and what you can be held accountable for. It is very important that you seek out a qualified Downey car accident attorney to be sure that you are getting best legal advice and representation when it comes a trial. A hit and run accident can be quite devastating to all parties involved.
What is meant by a hit and run accident?
The hit and run accident is pretty much exactly as it sounds, it is described as an accident that involves one party running into another party with a vehicle of some sort and instead of staying at the scene to lend their assistance in case there is an injury, they instead take off to avoid be confronted by the authorities. In most jurisdictions it does not matter if you caused the accident or were the victim, if you leave the scene of the accident before the authorities arrive you can be charged with hit and run.
Consequences of a hit and run accident
The minute a party make the conscious decision to flee the scene of an accident, even if there were no injuries to the other person, that party has escalated the ramifications of their actions. There are four different things that can happen to someone they flee the scene of an accident: criminal charges, civil penalties, loss of their license and insurance cancellation.
Criminal Charges – This is because while the penalties vary from state to state, most states classify a hit and run as a felony and that can result in a period of incarceration of at least one year in prison and pay a hefty fine. The criminal penalties can be substantial, up to 15 years in prison and the potential fines can range between $5000 and $25000.
Civil Penalties – On top of the criminal penalties a person who is guilty of a hit and run could also face a trial in a civil court and the potential damages could be very costly. The victim has the right to recover money for medical expenses, property damages and lost wages. In some jurisdictions the monetary compensation may automatically be tripled (referred to as treble damages).
Loss of their license – In the case of a hit and run a person faces the potential of a permanent revocation of their driver’s license after receiving a guilty verdict. Moreover, it does not matter if it is a felony or misdemeanor. Many states set the loss of driving privileges at 6 months and other states, depending on the severity of the circumstances a person could lose their license for 3 years.
Car Insurance Cancellation – Last but not least, many insurance companies will automatically cancel the insurance policy for anyone who has been convicted of a hit and run.
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident and would like to speak with a personal injury attorney about your rights, please call us at (562) 222-3067. All consultations are free. The above-mentioned is not to be construed as legal advice.