What Happens If You Flee the Scene of a Car Accident?
Getting into a car accident is inherently stressful. It’s natural to panic in the immediate aftermath, and for some people, that means leaving the scene as quickly as possible; however, driving away could have serious repercussions even if the wreck didn’t cause extensive property damage or bodily injury.
In the state of Florida, fleeing the scene of a car accident is a criminal offense that could result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Read on to learn about the potential consequences of a conviction:
1. When Leaving the Scene Is a Misdemeanor
Leaving the scene of an accident that causes property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor. As such, potential penalties include up to 60 days’ incarceration, six months of probation, and a fine of up to $500.
2. When Leaving the Scene Is a Felony
Leaving the scene of an accident that causes bodily injury is a third-degree felony and is punishable as a level 5 offense in the state of Florida. A conviction can result in up to five years’ incarceration, up to five years of probation, and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Offenders will also have their driver’s license revoked for at least three years.
When a collision results in one or more fatalities, leaving the scene is a first-degree felony. Potential penalties include a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
3. What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Hit and Run Collision?
If you end up in a car accident with someone who flees the scene, do not chase after him or her. Doing so not only may cause a subsequent wreck but also could result in criminal charges brought against you.
Instead, pull out of the flow of traffic and call the police. While waiting for officers to arrive, write down everything you remember about the vehicle in question including its model, make, color, and license plate tag.
It’s also wise to ask eyewitnesses what they saw because they might remember details that you missed. Potential eyewitnesses include passing motorists who stopped to provide assistance, bicyclists, pedestrians, and nearby shopkeepers. Be sure to obtain their names and phone numbers in addition to any statements they provide so your personal injury attorney can follow up if necessary.
Upon leaving the scene, your first priority should be your health, so visit a doctor as soon as possible for a comprehensive evaluation. You should seek care regardless of whether first responders treated you at the scene.
Once your condition stabilizes, you should call a seasoned car accident attorney right away. Your legal team can perform a thorough investigation, gather evidence, and assist law enforcement in finding the at-fault motorist and bringing him or her to justice.
Call 772-266-5555 to Speak with a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love was hurt in a hit and run collision, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine how best to proceed. Call 772-266-5555 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Florida.