Car accidents can be both emotionally and physically damaging. At the moment of the accident, we are hit with a surge of adrenaline and often respond to fight-or-flight survival instincts. This, unfortunately, leads some of us to leave the scene of an accident. There are also those among us who would leave the scene of an accident in the act of legal or financial self-preservation. The law views those who leave the scene of an accident quite unsympathetically, regardless of their reasons for taking off.
But what should you do if the other driver leaves the scene of a crash without exchanging any information whatsoever? What should you do if you have a momentary lapse in judgment and leave the scene prematurely?
What Are the Duties of a Motorist Involved in an Accident?
Motorists owe a certain duty of safety and consideration to others who share the road with them. More specifically, though, in the event of an auto accident, motorists are bound by certain duties such as:
- You must stop your vehicle if it was involved in an accident that caused damage to a person, vehicle, or piece of property.
- In an accident, you must supply relevant information to the other parties, including name, address, and vehicle registration. Driver’s license number and insurance information must be shared upon request.
- If someone is injured in an auto accident, Arizona rules of the road ask that you render aid to anybody who asks for help or appears to be in immediate need of assistance.
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident in Arizona?
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are largely dependent on the particulars of the accident, including damages caused, injuries, and failures to present certain required information.
Some of these offenses can result in misdemeanor penalties, but others are charged as felonies. Misdemeanors can result in a month in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines. Felonies may potentially result in years in prison and more costly financial penalties. Those convicted of criminal charges will likely face enhanced sentencing.
Who Should You Report a Hit-And-Run To?
If the other driver leaves the scene of a crime, please make sure you are safe and receive proper medical attention. It is important to report the accident to the police and your insurance company. Once the police arrive, they will conduct an investigation into the crash and try to work to apprehend the driver who fled the scene.
It is highly advisable to then contact a personal injury attorney, who may help you recover damages or press charges once the other driver is identified and apprehended.