Whenever a person is involved in a car accident, they are encouraged to remain at the scene until authorities arrived. Part of this is basic human decency — people in accidents are expected to help each other out, especially if there were injuries that occurred. But the other part is that there are some severe legal consequences to hit-and-runs that could add on to legal troubles that drivers may already face in civil litigation.
Hit-and-runs are considered a felony offense, meaning that people who leave the scene of an accident could face some severe fines and potential prison time, especially if there were injuries or deaths at the accident scene. A hit-and-run accident is defined as any situation in which a driver is involved in an accident (with another car, a pedestrian or an object) and leaves the scene without stopping to provide assistance and identify themselves. It doesn’t matter whether the person caused the accident or not — leaving the scene is a crime.
Felony hit-and-run penalties could be punishable by up to 15 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, depending on the severity of the accident and other circumstances at play. If that person was also responsible for the accident that occurred, any injured parties still also have the right to bring a personal injury claim against the guilty party, which could lead to additional thousands of dollars in penalties.
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, the best thing you can do is contact the police as soon as possible, give a description of the vehicle and driver (if possible) and take legal action as soon as the driver is found. For more information on how to proceed in your case, contact the knowledgeable San Diego personal injury attorneys at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire immediately.