Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

A motor vehicle accident is a difficult experience.  You may panic and become either nervous or frightened.  These natural reactions may lead you to make a poor decision.  If you left the scene of an accident, though understandable, you may be exposed to potentially serious consequences.
In Pennsylvania, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal traffic violation that carries penalties that include:  prison time, costly fines and the suspension of your driver’s license.  You will need to hire an intelligent attorney to aggressively protect your rights.
Why Were You Ticketed for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
In Pennsylvania, if you were the driver in an accident where there was damage to another vehicle or to property, then you must:
-          Stop you vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as safely possible.
-          Provide the other driver or damaged property owner with your name, address, vehicle registration number, driver’s license, and proof of insurance
If you fail to do so and leave the scene of the accident, then you face a misdemeanor of the third degree.  If found guilty, you will be subject to up to one year prison time, expensive fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. 
In Pennsylvania, if you were the driver in an accident where another person involved in the accident was either injured or died, then you must:


-          Provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident

-          Attempt to make arrangements for an injured party to get to a doctor or hospital.  This responsibility is triggered by either (1) obvious injury to the individual, or (2) by request of the injured person.
-          Call police immediately if no person involved in the accident is otherwise capable of doing so
If the driver of a vehicle is incapable of meeting these responsibilities, then the burden falls to the passengers to do so.

If you leave the scene of an accident and do not provide the assistance listed above then, depending on the circumstances, you can be can be charged with either a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree.  If found guilty, you may face years in prison, expensive fines, and suspension of your driver’s license.

In Pennsylvania, if you were the driver in an accident where you struck either an unattended vehicle or personal property, then you must:
-          Try to locate the owner of the property, and if unsuccessful…
-          Must leave a note providing your information near or attached to the property
-          Must contact the police to file an accident report
Failing to do so may result in a variety of penalties depending upon the circumstances.

Solutions if You are the Victim of a “Hit and Run”
Leaving the scene of an accident (aka Hit and Run) is a crime.  If you are in an accident and the other driver leaves the scene, then you may be entitled to relief:
-          Damages for medical bills
-          Property damage restitution
-          Lost wages restitution
-          Assigned Claims Plan:  this program provides up to $5,000 in medical coverage and $10,000 for property damage costs to the victims of a person leaving the scene of an accident where that individual is never identified.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
If you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident, then you will need an attorney:
-          To raise all possible defenses and question the validity of the charge.
-          Help to minimize consequences through negotiation.
If you are the victim of another driver’s leaving the scene of an accident, then you will need an attorney:
-          To help you use any techniques available (police, investigator, etc) to locate the offender.
-          To help you recover meds, property damages, lost wages, etc from the offender.
-          To help you pursue coverage under the Assigned Claims Plan, if applicable.

Whether the offender or victim, you will need an attorney to help you in a leaving the scene of an accident case.

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