Accidents are always bad but they turn even worse when someone hits a vehicle or person and then runs away from the scene. Under North Carolina laws, you must stop, render air, report the crash, and wait for the authorities to arrive on the scene after an accident. If you instead leave the scene, the incident is regarded as a hit-and-run.
It is important to observe the legally designated steps following an accident. Here is a look at these steps and the penalties if a driver fails to observe them and instead drives away from a crash scene.
North Carolina Accident Requirements
If you have been involved in an accident in North Carolina, you are required to follow these steps.
- Stop the vehicle immediately
- Remain with the vehicle until the police arrive and complete the initial investigation
- Provide personal contact information to the other people involved in the crash
- Make arrangements for anyone who needs urgent medical attention
In some cases, you may need to leave the crash scene with a sound justification. For instance, if you need to go call the police, seek medical attention, flag a passing vehicle about the crash, or do something to prevent further injury to a crash victim, you can leave the crash scene without legal liability.
As a Hit-and-Run Victim
If someone hits your vehicle and flees away from the scene, you should follow these steps.
Call the police
Immediately gather yourself and call the police so that they may register it as a hit-and-run offense. Reporting the incident ensures that the crash is recorded and that you receive help in a timely way. It is also helpful in a claim you may file down the road.
Seek medical help
Look for any injuries and try to get medical help. If the first responders and paramedics reach the scene in a timely way, they are your best option for medical help. Otherwise, you can also flag a passerby for emergency help.
After you leave the crash scene, make sure you visit your primary physician and then undergo a thorough checkup. This ensures that any hidden injuries are revealed. It also makes sure that your injuries are recorded by the hospital so that this documentation can later be used in supporting your claim for damages.
Gather any evidence
If you are in your senses after the crash, try to gather as much relevant evidence as possible. This may include any details about the vehicle or the person who caused the hit-and-run. Relevant information may include the make, model, color, shape, and any add-on features of the vehicle involved. If possible, try to remember the registration number of the vehicle as well.
If you can recall any details about the person involved in the hit-and-run, make sure you record them or share them with the authorities.
When Must You Report a Crash?
In North Carolina, you are required to report a crash if:
- It results in personal injury or death of a person
- It causes property damage of $1000 or more
- Your insurance company requires you to report the crash
Penalties for Hit-and-Run Offenses
If a hit-and-run crash resulted in minor injuries or damage to a vehicle, it is regarded as a Class 1 misdemeanor under North Carolina laws. The penalties for this offense include a jail time of up to 120 days and a fine that is defined by the court.
If the hit-and-run causes serious bodily injury or death, it is regarded as a Class H felony. The penalties include a prison sentence of up to 25 months, license suspension, and fine.
A hit-and-run may also be regarded as a Class F felony when it causes serious bodily injury with extended hospitalization, pain, disfigurement, or suffering. The penalties in this case include a jail time of up to 41 months, license suspension, and fines.
Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Charlotte, NC
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Charlotte, NC, we can help you. Car crash claims which involve a hit-and-run driver work differently than regular accidents. This is because the other driver is unknown. So you often have to rely on your insurer or other options to seek compensatory damages. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we help you explore these options and make sure your crash-related losses are covered. Call us today to discuss your Charlotte hit-and-run accident with our lawyers.