Leaving the Scene of an Accident? Avoid these Mistakes.
An estimated 737,100 hit and run crashes occurred in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In that same year, there were 1,980 fatal hit and run crashes which resulted in 2,046 fatalities. This is the highest number ever recorded by the NHTSA.
Needless to say, hit and run accidents are extremely common, meaning it could happen to you at any time. Although it can be frightening to think about the possibility of getting into a hit and run accident, it’s even more frightening to go to jail for committing a hit and run. Drivers tend to make certain mistakes that result in a conviction for hit and run, and our lawyer is here to help prevent that.
Below, we discuss the common mistakes you to avoid after a hit and run accident. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.
- Not leaving a note: Many drivers tend to leave the accident scene without leaving a note, thinking it will increase their chances of getting away with a hit and run. However, this could actually result in hit and run charges. You are required by law to notify the other driver that you hit their vehicle before leaving the scene, whether or not they are present at the time of the accident, or else you get may hit and run charges. The note should include your name, address, phone number, and a statement of what happened. We suggest you include your insurance information as well.
- Failing to document the scene: Did you leave a note on the driver’s windshield? Great. But did you take pictures and videos of the accident? Documenting the scene is a critical part of your situation because you need as much information about the accident as possible for the insurance claims process, the police, and the legal counsel of you and the other party.
- Calling the police right away: If the other driver wasn’t present at the accident but you want to ensure they don’t accuse you of hit and run, do not call the police. As much as you may think it’s the best decision, you could make your situation worse by speaking to the police without consulting your attorney first. Remember, anything you say can be used against you, so a good lawyer can inform you of how to approach your situation with the police properly.
- Filing an insurance claim immediately: Are you tempted to call your insurance company right away and come clean about your hit and run accident? We urge you to think twice before calling your insurance company immediately after the accident without speaking to a lawyer first. Your attorney will help you understand both sides of the story and gather as much information as you can before filing a claim. Your insurance company does not have your best interests in mind, despite what you may think.
- Making false claims: Do not lie to the police or your insurance company. Many drivers try to cover their tracks and give false information to the police and their insurance companies. However, those lies almost always come back to haunt people, giving them a disadvantage in their case.
- Not hiring a lawyer: A common mistake people make in their hit and run accidents is failing to hire a lawyer. You may not think it’s a big deal and can resolve your situation without legal counsel, but not hiring a lawyer could hurt you more than help you. This is because your attorney can use their knowledge and experience in law to help defend or even avoid your hit and run charges, so without an attorney, you may suffer worse outcomes.
A key takeaway from this article is that you should call a lawyer immediately following your accident to get advice on what to do. Your actions and decisions could determine whether or not you get hit and run charges, and an attorney will help you avoid worsening your situation. If you got into an accident, don’t hesitate to contact us at (212) 235-1525 today.