HIT AND RUN
A hit and run refers to a car accident that injures a person or animal or results in damage to another person's property in which the offender leaves and/or never stops at the scene of the accident. It is illegal to leave the accident scene without calling police. Such an incident is a crime that can result in serious consequences, ranging from high fines to prison time.
Hitting someone or something and leaving the scene is affected by different laws by state. A first-time offender whose hit and run accident caused damage to another vehicle may be convicted of the crime and usually be required to pay the victim for damages done to the car, either through his insurance company or in fines assessed by the authorities. In certain states such as Missouri where insurance points are assessed, a high number of points will be tacked on for hit and run accidents.
When an accident involves injury to another person and the person responsible leaves the scene, penalties are much more severe. The driver may face fines, DMV points, prison time and a revocation of his or her driver's license and/or insurance policy. Most states' laws require a minimum of liability insurance to be able to register an automobile.
Fines in both cases may be made greater depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If it occurs in a construction zone or lower speed zone, fines may be doubled.
Hit and run accidents where a death occurs are considered felonies by law. These exist when the driver fails to stop, identify, or render assistance to the victim, regardless of whose fault the accident is. People involved in any type of motor vehicle accident where injury or damage occurs are required to remain at the scene until police arrive.
In any motor vehicle accident, regardless of the outcome, it is wisest to exchange personal information with the other driver without admitting fault. In many states, fault plays a large role in insurance claims and penalties for automobile accidents. The insurance company or authorities will determine fault based on accounts from all parties involved as well as witness testimonies.
If you are involved in a this type of accident, a lawyer experienced with traffic accident cases will be able to assist you in determining the proper steps to follow and defense attorneys may be able to reduce the crime to failure to report an accident.
A car accident is always a traumatic event, but one involving leaving the scene of an accident can feel, somehow, worse. How could someone hit you or your loved one and then just drive away? How could they not stop to make sure everyone was okay or to call for help if there were injuries? How could they not take responsibility for what they did?
A hit and run accident can turn your life upside down in a split second.
What if it happened to you or a family member? Would you know what to do? Who would you call for legal assistance? Who will pay for the medical bills and any necessary prescriptions, therapy, rehab, extended treatments or expensive equipment? Who will pay for the damage to your vehicle or to replace your vehicle if the hit and run accident involved a car rather than a bicycle rider or pedestrian being hit? What about missed work? What if there were serious injuries and there may be long term disability? What if someone died? Were there any witnesses to the accident? How could you find them? Whose insurance will pay for all this? Will the police try to find the hit and run driver? What will happen if and when he or she is found? Since leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Missouri, will that person go to jail? Where do you start and how would you handle it all?
These questions haunt hit and run accident victims and/or their families and add to the trauma of the accident. Hit and Run accident victims are not only left to deal with the injuries caused by the accident. Regardless on which side of a hit and run accident you are on, this is a charge in which you need some experienced hit and run legal assistance to get the best possible outcome.
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