After a car accident occurs, it is crucial that you respond appropriately in order to avoid potential charges for leaving the scene of the accident. Generally, motorists are obligated to stay at the scene in order to exchange information with the other driver or property owner and to wait for law enforcement to arrive. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you were charged with leaving the scene of an accident, consider carefully whether one of these exceptions applies to your case.
Exceptions to the Requirement That You Stay At an Accident Scene
What are some of the exceptions to the requirement that you remain at the scene of an accident? The following is an overview:
- You are injured. If you are injured and require medical treatment, you are allowed to seek treatment. As soon as reasonably possible after obtaining treatment, you are required to report to the State Police or local law enforcement and make a reasonable effort to locate the other person involved in the accident. This could include the other driver, an occupant of that vehicle, or the custodian of the damaged property. You are then required to give that person your name, address, driver’s license, and vehicle registration number.
- You hit an unattended vehicle. If you hit a vehicle or property that was unattended, you may leave the accident scene after making a reasonable effort to identify and notify the owner or custodian of the vehicle or property. For example, you may leave a note that includes your personal information. You must then report the accident in writing to state or local police within 24 hours. In this report, you must include the date, time, and place of the accident as well as a description of the damage involved.
- You were a passenger. If you were not the driver in the accident, and the driver stops or reports the accident, you do not have a duty to stop or report.
- Your life is in danger. If you believe that your life may be in danger by remaining at the accident scene, such as if there is a fire or a toxic spill, you may be exempt from having to remain at the scene, though you will maintain a duty to report.
In addition to these exceptions, other possible defenses to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident may apply. We encourage you to contact us today for more information at 888-386-3898.