Reporting Your Accident: Why You Shouldn’t Leave the Scene

Two paramedics loading a patient into an ambulance. You’ve been involved in an accident and you believe it to be a minor fender-bender. You see the other driver moving around in their vehicle, looking for their phone so that they can call authorities, and as they are doing so, you wonder if you should just leave.

Under no circumstances should somebody ever flee the scene without taking a couple of steps first. Many people who flee the scene of accidents every year do so with ill intentions, when a fight-or-flight response kicks in, as they face the reality that they could be liable for the crash in some way. There are many legal consequences to leaving the scene of an accident, as this is an illegal act known as a hit-and-run. If you find yourself in one of these difficult positions, speaking to an attorney can help.

Consequences of Hit-and-Run 

If somebody flees the scene of an accident, there are many legal consequences that could follow them. In most cases, a driver can and will be found by authorities, especially after witnesses speak with police and a description of a vehicle is given. Here are just a few of the consequences that might occur:

Revoked License: Losing your license can be one of the most difficult aspects you will ever face, as it becomes nearly impossible to have a social life and go to and from your job unless you have a license. You could have your license completely and permanently taken away based on the circumstances of your accident and it could be quite difficult to get it back.

Fines: The legal fees associated with a hit-and-run can be astronomical, especially if somebody is seriously injured. From there, a party might be expected to pay for a wide variety of damages, which means that you could find yourself in a financial hole for some time. Even something as simple as leaving the scene of an accident with minor injuries could leave you with $5,000 in fines, which might be impossible for you to handle on your own.

Incarceration: Of course, being involved in a motor vehicle accident often brings with it injuries and property damage. If you flee the scene of an accident, you are still liable for any damages you may have caused, with the added penalty of leaving the area. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident without speaking with the involved parties. Depending on the severity of your hit-and-run, you might face a jail or prison sentence after you are caught.

After Your Accident 

After an accident, one of the first things that should be considered is to stay calm. Following a West Virginia car accident, emotions might be all over the place and you might be feeling concerned about what will come in the future. However, it is imperative to be able to gather your thoughts and think about your next moves at the scene of an accident. When an accident has taken place and you believe somebody is injured or in danger, you should always call 911 and help them get help.

At Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner, we understand that it can be traumatic and devastating to be involved in a West Virginia car accident. You might feel tempted to flee the scene of an accident to avoid consequences but remaining at the scene and helping injured parties will lead to a better outcome. Our experienced personal injury attorneys understand how difficult it can be to face the aftermath of an accident but we want you to know that you are not alone. Please contact us to find out what we can do for you at (304) 713-2014.


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