It may come as a surprise that “hit and run” auto accidents are actually increasingly common. In 2015, there were 38,000 such incidents just in New York City. According to a USA Today report, nearly half of all Los Angeles-based collisions result in a hit and run. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that over 1,200 fatalities occur annually in a hit and run accidents.
Steps to Take Following a Hit and Run Accident
- Make notes of the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license number, as well as a description of the driver;
- Do not attempt to pursue the fleeing vehicle, which may make matters worse and is a danger to others on the road;
- Contact the local authorities;
- Look for witnesses and obtain their contact information if possible;
- Take photos of the accident scene if possible;
- If injured, seek immediate medical attention;
- If any other vehicles were involved, aid the injured in seeking medical help;
- Contact your auto insurance provider; and
- Contact an experienced personal injury and accident attorney.
North Carolina Law
The state laws regarding those involved in an accident are very clear. Any driver who knows (or should know) that his or her vehicle has been in a collision must stop at the scene. Drivers are to remain at the site until law enforcement has arrived and completed any investigational work regarding the accident unless instructed otherwise. The only allowable reasons for leaving the scene are to either contact the authorities or emergency medical responders. Depending on the circumstances, hit and run drivers can face misdemeanor or felony charges, lengthy driver’s license suspensions, and other penalties.
Potential Reasons Why Drivers Flee
Some of the typical reasons why drivers flee the scene of an accident include that they have an arrest warrant, no driver’s license, no auto insurance, or were intoxicated while operating the vehicle.
If you have a policy with only liability coverage, you may need to pay for needed repairs yourself. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, then you should be able to use this for vehicle repairs. You will want to review the details of your specific policy and contact your agent to discuss any potential options, deductibles, etc.
Unfortunately, far too many drivers each year demonstrate careless and reckless driving habits which lead to serious injuries and fatalities. The hit and run accident team at The Rhine Law Firm, P.C., is ranked by SuperLawyers as a Top 100 in North Carolina. We stand up for the rights of auto accident victims throughout the greater New Hanover County area by securing needed financial compensation in awards from verdicts and settlements. For a complimentary case consultation, contact us today at (910) 772-9960.