What to Do After a Hitting a Car and Running

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If you have hit a car and run, then you may be facing some potentially serious legal consequences. Not only will you be held civilly liable for the damages you caused to the other driver, but you may also face criminal charges. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, you should think carefully about what to do after hitting a car and running.

Know the Law

The laws for a hit and run differ by state, but in most cases, you will be held criminally liable for leaving the scene of an accident. Generally:

  • You may face misdemeanor penalties. These are usually a fine and some time in jail- from between one and two years. A hit and run is usually a misdemeanor if it is a first offense and/or if the person who you hit and run was injured but did not die as a result
  • You may face felony charges if the person you hit and run died or if the accident was especially severe. Felony charges may involve over a year in jail as well as large fines
  • Your license will often be suspended

You must learn the specific definition of hit and run and the rules and laws of your state so you can know what to be prepared for after hitting a car and running.

Turn Yourself In

Before you contact your insurance company or do anything else, you likely want to consider turning yourself in to the police. If you turn yourself in, the prosecutors are more likely to show leniency in regards to arranging a plea bargain, and the judge is more likely to be lenient in sentencing. This is especially true if the damage done by the accident was minor. In fact, you may be able to escape jail time entirely if the damage was minor, if no one was seriously injured and/or if you cooperate with the police.

Understand Your Insurance Information Isn’t Confidential

If you are sued as a result of a hit and run driver and you want your insurance company to defend the lawsuit, you will have to admit to them that you were in fact operating the vehicle. Otherwise they will not cover your legal bills.

Unfortunately, his means if you admit that to the insurance company, the police can subpoena their records and use that as evidence against you in a criminal case to prove you in fact did hit and run. Therefore, you need to think carefully about what information you disclose to your insurance company and when.

Finding Legal Help

Generally, before you speak to your insurance company, or before you turn yourself in, you should speak to an experienced hit and run attorney. The attorney should be able to explain the laws in your area, and should be able to help you interface with law enforcement to minimize the penalties associated with the hit and run incident.

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