Car accidents are always stressful, even in the best-case situation. However, when a collision happens, all parties involved are required to stop to assess damages and give insurance information to proceed with a claim. Unfortunately, the severity of the accident may influence the decision to break the law and commit a “hit and run.”
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property and the responsible party leaves without leaving their information. This could involve any collision that happens on the highway, public road, and in many states, parking lots. Either the vehicle who caused the accident or the vehicle who was hit could commit a hit and run accident, so it is not related to fault.
Although taking responsibility for the collision has consequences, they are minimal compared to legal action that can be taken for leaving the scene.
What are the penalties?
Hit and run accidents in Rhode Island are considered a misdemeanor and can be punished by a $500-$1,000 fine and/or a suspension of a driver’s license. In severe cases, perpetrators may face up to six months of incarceration. Hit and run accidents in Massachusetts where damage exceeds $1,000 can result in suspension of a driver’s license. In Connecticut, you can be fined $75-$600 or face prison time for up to five years. It is possible in some situations for a person to be both fined and incarcerated.
Steps to Take
The first step to take if you were involved in a hit and run accident is to call the police and report the incident. Provide as much detail as you can, including the location, make and model of the other car, and license plate number. As with any car accident, gather important information, like photos and witness statements and report the accident to your insurance carrier.