What to Do After a Hitting a Pedestrian and Running

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If you have hit a pedestrian and left the scene, you need to act quickly and take the proper steps. If the pedestrian was injured, you likely face a potential civil lawsuit. Criminal charges are also a possibility in most locations, ranging in severity depending on the pedestrian’s condition. As such, you want to act before the police find you and identify you as the person who perpetrated the hit and run.

Contacting the Police

Generally, it is a good idea to turn yourself in to law enforcement after the hit and run. Leaving the scene of the accident automatically suggests to the police that you were guilty, and can make them believe you were guilty of even more than just causing the accident; for example, many people leave the scene because they are driving drunk, driving without a license or otherwise breaking the law when they cause the accident.

In most jurisdictions, the penalty for hitting and running when a person is injured is a misdemeanor, and the penalty for hitting and running when a person is killed is a felony.  If you turn yourself in and cooperate with law enforcement, the penalties may be less severe and the law enforcement officials may be more willing to make a deal with you and allow you to plea the case down in severity. In fact, if you didn’t severely injure the pedestrian, you may be able to face minimal to no jail time.

What about Insurance?

If a person is suing you for a hit and run and the police are also prosecuting you at the same time for the hit and run, you face a difficult situation. You may wan to claim in the criminal trial that you didn’t hit and run, but in order to have your insurance company defend you in the civil trial, you need to admit to them that you were operating the vehicle. The police can then subpoena the insurance records and use that against you in your criminal trial.

Talk to a Lawyer Immediately

After hitting a pedestrian and running, one of the first things you should do is contact a hit and run attorney. He can give you advice about whether to turn yourself in and how to go about doing so and negotiating with law enforcement to minimize your potential penalties. He can also help you to speak with your insurance company and to defend both the civil and criminal charges brought against you as a result of hitting a pedestrian and running.

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