It doesn’t matter if you t-bone your car into the passenger side of someone’s expensive sports car, or you barely nick the back of their pick-up with your front bumper, you should never, under any circumstances, leave the scene of an accident.
The urge is somewhat understandable- people do come wired with a flight-or-flight compulsion, and that latter impulse can be really appealing, especially if no one was around to see you barely bump the parked car next to you.
But that’s an urge you should never give in to. Morality aside, it opens you up to all sorts of major legal consequences that you would be much better off avoiding, especially if the accident you were involved in ended up with some injured, or even worse, dead.
If you do find yourself in this situation, your best bet would be to contact Utah’s Siegfried & Jensen, experienced automobile accident lawyers who can give you the legal advice and the protection that you need.
What Can Happen if You Leave The Scene An Accident
The consequences of fleeing the scene of a crime are severe, but range in severity depending on the seriousness of the accident.
The repercussions will be different if you were involved in a minor accident resulting in minor automobile damages, or if the accident resulted in someone being injured.
Either way, the best piece of advice to give would be to not flee an accident, to avoid the situation entirely.
Consequences can range from:
Losing Your License
It’s probably the least severe thing that can happen to you all things considered, but losing your license is still an outcome you’d be better off avoiding by contacting the police instead of running away from an accident, or even worse, being involved in a police chase.
You could end up with your license suspended, or worse yet, revoked. If it’s revoked, then your license is entirely canceled, and cannot be gotten back or reinstated. Instead, you will have to apply for a new license entirely via your state’s DMV, which involves taking tests and paying any fines or fees you have been charged with, and more than anything takes time. You would be a lot better off not leaving an accident, and calling the police instead.
While a light consequence, all things considered, it pales in compared to other outcomes you could face from leaving an automobile accident.
Fines and Payment
No one is completely prepared for those extra fees and costs that crop up in life. Money is quite literally your lifeline, and being involved in an accident can become an unforeseen extra financial burden. If you are at fault in the automobile accident, you can be absolutely liable to pay for any damages to the victim or their vehicle.
But, if you flee the scene of an accident, the legal fees can only skyrocket. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the fees increase in severity and intensity.
If you injured someone’s property after fleeing an accident, you can face a $500 payment. If someone is injured in some way and you leave the scene of the crime, you face fines up to $5,000. Worst of all, if someone is killed and you leave the scene of a crime, fines are up to $10,000.
Needless to say, facing the consequences head on instead of running from them is always the right move. It’s not only the right thing to do for your fellow human beings, but it can end up saving you a lot of money in the long term, both for you and your family. One of those hefty fines can ruin lives, and instead of bankrupting yourself, you’re much better off staying at the scene of an accident and talking to the authorities.
Losing your license and your money is one thing, but fleeing the scene of an accident opens you up to losing your legal freedom.
Legally, leaving the scene of an accident that you were involved in without helping anyone involved or contacting the authorities is classified as a hit and run. These types of accidents extend anywhere legally, even parking lots.
Different legal consequences may occur depending on the location of the accident, but generally, if the accident involved the damaging of property, it is classified as a misdemeanor. If someone is injured or killed, it becomes a felony, in which case the legal consequences become much more severe.
A misdemeanor, while less severe than a felony, can still result in a hefty fee and up to a year’s worth of jail time. Felonies can leave you with up to 15 years of jail time, on top of the already staggering fines you are charged.
It goes without saying, but staying at the scene of a crime is always the correct thing to do.
What You Should Do After An Accident
Panic might set in as soon as an accident occurs, and with that terrifying frame of mind might come the urge to flee. As discussed though, the repercussions of doing so can be quite severe.
Instead, when an accident occurs you need to take some deep breaths and get a hold of your electrified emotional state.
Park your car, get out and assess the situation. If it appears someone is in danger or needs help, call 911 and report to them what’s happening. Help anyone in the situation that might need help, and stay at the scene of the accident until authorities arrive.
Salt Lake City, Utah Lawyers That Can Help You
Automobile accidents can be terrifying experiences, ones that might leave you searching for someone who can come along and help you.
So, if you or someone you know end up the victims of a hit-and-run accident, or if you yourself do end up fleeing the scene of an automobile accident, it’s important you contact Siegfried & Jensen today.
We are seasoned lawyers with over 30 years of experience in handling the legal turmoil of automobile accidents.
Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.