Protect yourself before you leave the scene of an accident

After you suffer a car accident, you may not always know when it is acceptable to leave the scene. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident, leaving the scene before it is appropriate may lead to criminal hit-and-run charges for fleeing the scene. Should you face difficulty determining when you can safely leave the scene, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you understand the important elements of your particular accident.

You want to make sure that you do not provoke hit-and-run charges, which can create criminal liability in an otherwise civil matter. Especially if someone suffered physical injuries or lost his or her life in the accident, it is not wise to leave the scene until a police officer comes to the scene. However, in some cases, this is not possible, especially if you yourself suffered injuries. It is unlikely for leaving the scene of an accident to result in hit-and-run charges if you do so to seek immediately necessary medical treatment, but you should still take whatever steps you can to resolve your responsibilities at the scene before leaving.

The simplest way to avoid this type of conflict is to call the police and wait for them to arrive. Once police arrive on the scene and understand your reasons for wishing to leave the scene, you can simply inform the officer of your intention to leave and ask if you are free to leave. In the meantime, you can gather evidence pertaining to the accident to strengthen your claim in the future.

You may find it useful to call for an attorney to come out to the scene. Once on the scene, an attorney cannot only help protect your rights against unfair claims, he or she can help you collect relevant information for your claim and help you understand the various legal issues at play in the scenario, helping shield your rights and protecting your priorities.

Source: Findlaw, "After a Car Accident: First Steps," accessed Oct. 27, 2017

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