Driving away from the scene of a car accident is a crime, no matter the circumstances. Being in an accident can be scary, and the knee jerk reaction can easily be to drive away and avoid getting into any trouble. However, if you drive away from an accident you can find yourself stuck in a world of legal issues that can result in the loss of your license or even jail time.
The law differentiates between driving away after hitting a parked car and driving away after hitting a moving car. When you strike an unattended vehicle, you have a duty to attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle. This can be done by simply leaving your name, phone number, address, and insurance information in a note on the car before leaving. Be sure to take a picture of this note in the event that you may later need to prove that you left it. Failure to make an attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle can result in being charged with a misdemeanor and risks your license.
Leaving the scene of an accident involving an operated car or a person is a much more serious crime. When you are involved in a car accident, you have a legal obligation to stop and ensure that everyone involved has not sustained major injuries and to call an ambulance if necessary. You are also required to call the police and give your name and insurance information to others involved in the accident. If you fail to stop and instead leave the scene of an accident which results in serious injuries or death, you can be found guilty of a felony and sent to prison.
If you have been hit by a driver who has fled the scene, try to get as much information as you can about the driver’s car. If possible, take pictures and write down the car’s license plate number. As soon as you can, contact the police and give this information to them.
Though fleeing the accident may seem like an easy way to avoid getting in trouble, doing so risks your driver’s license and your freedom, as well as puts the lives of those who you leave behind at risk. The best thing to do is always to stop and talk to the other people involved and call the police. If you have been in an accident and did not stay as required by law, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney Dekalb County GA relies on to ensure that you fully understand your rights moving forward.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into driving away from the scene of an accident.