There are 700,000 hit-and-run accidents a year, and tens of thousands of those involved are left with severe injuries. On an average day, there are around six fatalities that result from hit-and-run accidents. Since the US began to track the number of accidents that occurred each year involving vehicles in 1975, the numbers have only been increasing.
What Is Considered A Hit And Run?
An accident is considered a hit and run by the authorities when the driver that is involved decides not to file a report or exchange information with the other driver, and instead, leaves the scene. The crime does not have to happen on the road, it can also occur when a car is parked. In fact, 69% of all hit and run claims are for cars that were parked in a parking lot. Many hit-and-run laws also include when animals are hit by a car, though some small birds and animals are an exception. An accident is not considered a hit-and-run if no one was in the other car and the driver reports what happened to the police.
Reasons Why Drivers Don’t Stop at the Scene
Emotions can run high after an accident and the driver may not always feel as if he or she needs to stop. Most hit-and-runs occur at night when a driver may not be sure what he or she hit. Other times, they happen when a driver does realize he or she has hit a person or car but may not stop due to fear of the consequences. This fear may be due to the car being stolen, the driver having warrants out for his or her arrest, or he or she may be under the influence of substances. An immigrant driver may fear having their citizenship status questioned.
What Should The Driver Do If They Hit Something
The moment the driver realizes that he or she hit something, the individual needs to stop the vehicle slowly and safely and begin to assess the situation. He or she should call 911 immediately if anyone needs help treating injuries. Exchanging information with the other driver or leaving a detailed note of what happened is important. The driver should also take any photos that may need to be turned into insurance and file a police report. After a crash, it is important for those involved to try to stay calm and follow these guidelines. Although the driver may feel he or she is unable to afford damages, the consequences of a hit-and-run are much more severe and can include fines or jail time.
What To Do If The Driver Is Not Found
After a hit and run the police will try to locate the driver through various methods. Some of these methods include:
- Driver and passenger interviews
- Eye witness accounts
- Security camera footage
- Compiling a detailed description of the vehicle and circumstances
Even if the police are able to locate the driver of the car that fled, the driver of the remaining car might have to reach out to his or her own insurance. Car crash injuries are not the only expenses involved with an accident. An accident attorney might be able to sue to help recover lost wages and property damage, along with any medical bills.