It's perfectly normal to be scared when you're in a car accident, especially if you caused the crash. Thoughts of other infractions, insurance rates skyrocketing, and other concerns probably flash through your mind.
However, it's never acceptable to leave the scene of an accident, no matter how scared you are. Not only does this put injured victims at risk, it's also a crime. Being charged with a hit and run can result in points added to your driving record, large fines, and even prison time—consequences that are likely more severe than you would receive by obeying the law and staying onsite.
What the Law Requires
By becoming a licensed driver in Kansas or Missouri, your acceptance of state traffic laws is a given. It's the law in Missouri and Kansas that any driver involved in an accident must do the following:
- Stop at the scene.
- Determine if anyone is injured and provide assistance is they are.
- Exchange insurance and contact information.
- If there are injuries, notify law enforcement and fill out a police report.
Even if the crash was your fault, staying on the scene and obeying the law can help you in the long run.
Why Drivers Flee the Scene
Hit and run crashes occur for various reasons. Often, it's because the driver is guilty of something. A driver commonly leaves the scene of a car accident because he or she:
- is scared
- has no insurance
- has legal problems
- isn't aware the accident occurred
- is impaired by drugs or alcohol
- was distracted or driving recklessly and knows he's at fault
The reason a driver left the scene doesn’t really matter. What matters is finding out who he or she is in order to be held accountable for the damage caused.
What Should You Do If You're the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident?
Unless you're completely incapacitated by the crash, there are some steps you can take right away that could help catch the driver, or at least protect your recovery if he's not caught.
We recommend doing the following:
1. Contact the police. They'll come to the scene and look for clues that will help them find the negligent driver.
2. Fill out a police report. This provides a record of the accident for your insurance company. If the other driver cannot be found, your insurance company may want to see the police report before covering your medical expenses.
3. Take pictures of the scene with your cell phone. This will help prove your damages and it may be evidence to experts investigating your case.
4. Get contact information from any witnesses. They may have information about the other driver or how the accident occurred.
5. Write everything down. While your memory is still fresh, document what you recall about the accident.
6. Go to the hospital. Even if you think you're fine, you should be checked for hidden injuries. In addition, seeing a doctor documents your injuries for the insurance company. This is important if you'd like to be compensated for your medical expenses.
7. Schedule a consultation with an auto accident lawyer. If the other driver is found, the attorney will help you get compensation from his insurance company. If he's not found, your attorney will look for other sources of compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
You may feel abandoned and helpless following a hit and run crash, but you're not alone. Taking these steps can help you regain a sense of control and may even help in your financial recovery.
How Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help
Our car accident attorneys have worked with many victims of hit and run crashes. We collaborate with the police to try to locate the runaway driver and will work with your insurance policies to get you the compensation you need to recovery, regardless of your fault in the accident.
Trying to go it alone following a hit and run is often a mistake. Connect with us through the link on this page to get started. We are here to help you get what you deserve.